By Sgt. Sarah KirbyMarch 20, 2019
BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland - Soldiers assigned to Battle Group Poland (BGPOL) received a special treat this week - a historic visit from the Polish President himself, Andrzej Duda, March 6. While visiting the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, (BPTA) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Poland joining NATO, President Duda wasted no time in expressing his pride and gratitude towards the Soldiers standing before him.
"Thank you, Soldiers," expressed President Duda. "Thank you to your loved ones who accept with understanding that you serve in my country, on foreign soil. I assure you that it is a brotherly land."
BGPOL is a NATO battle group comprising of soldiers from Romania, Croatia, the U.K., Poland, and the United States. Part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, BGPOL focuses on interoperability and deterrence towards any foreign threat to the region. The combination of air defense artillery, multiple rocket launch systems, field artillery, tanks, and infantry make BGPOL a dynamic and lethal force. The president commemorated the presence, hard work and momentous impact of BGPOL in his address to the Soldiers gathered.
"I am very happy that I can be here in this historic moment for Poland," stated President Duda. "Poles have been waiting for this moment since the Second World War. This symbolizes that freedom after years of expectation has come and is strong."
Accompanying President Duda was the Polish Minister of National Defense, Mariusz Blaszczack.
The President and Defense Minister attended a display of BGPOL's might, which included Croatian's Multiple Rocket Launch Systems, American's Paladins and Abrams tanks and Polish aviation maneuvers.
Witnessing the lethality of the combined armament display, Defense Minister Mariusz addressed the troops, stating, "We have seen that soldiers of allied armies cooperate greatly. They are also perfectly familiar with the quality of equipment that particular armies have at their disposal."
U.S. Army Spc. Jack Bouchard, an American sniper assigned to BGPOL, witnessed the ceremony.
"It was great seeing the President there," stated Bouchard. "He looked very interested in what we were there to do which meant a lot, especially coming from someone of such a high position."
President Duda ended his remarks by encouraging continued commitment to NATO Enhanced Forward Presence and expressing hope in a lasting and powerful presence of troops in his home country. "This is an eloquent demonstration of the presence of the North Atlantic Alliance in our country," stated President Duda. "I hope that this presence will deepen and grow over the years, that we will not only have present Soldiers from various armies of the North Atlantic Alliance in Poland but that there will also be more exercises in our country."