TRZEBIAN, Poland -- Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas are making eastern Europe home for their rotation as they mobilize in support of Atlantic Resolve. Their mission builds readiness, increases interoperability and enhances the bonds between ally and partner militaries with multinational training events in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
This is the first time for many Soldiers to step foot outside the U.S. and be away from loved ones. Post Exchange stores, USO services, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation tents are available to help make the transition easier for troops. A local phone service provider is also available to soldiers for purchase, making it easier to communicate with friends and loved ones back home. Many Soldiers brought books, laptops, video game consoles and TVs, to help pass time when not out in the field training.
While in the field, soldiers work hand in hand with soldiers of allied countries and NATO partners. The 3-66 AR will be conducting range operations including small-arms training, crew-served weapons and community relations, during their nine-month rotation in eastern Europe. The soldiers are excited to work with their counterparts and gain as much knowledge as possible.
"I had the opportunity to interact with the Polish military and they are very welcoming," said Pfc. Garrett M. Richard, cavalry scout, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment out of Fort Riley, Kansas. "They are very friendly and I look forward to working along side them."
Being away from family is not an easy task but some soldiers are staying positive and using this as an opportunity to explore the surrounding environment and culture.
"I've have never traveled outside the U.S. until now," said Richard. "I am excited to see what it's like out here."
As part of their mission, the 3-66 AR will also be engaging in community relations activities to help the locals understand the U.S. military's presence in eastern Europe. Allowing the troops to explore the local areas will help the Soldiers prepare for their mission.
"I have been researching and gathering information about the local communities to see what's it's like, " said Pfc. Angela Darby, an intel analyst with the 3-66 AR. "It's very similar to the United States."
Darby, a native of Daufuskie Landing, South Carolina, understands that she is far away from home. She is using this opportunity to learn about a culture that she is unfamiliar with.
" I am looking forward to experiencing a new culture and understanding foreign nations first hand," said Darby.
As the 3-66 AR continue their part of the mission in eastern Europe, the soldiers will not only gain valuable knowledge on military operations but also from local communities, which will be beneficial in the future.