By Sgt. Timothy HamlinJanuary 21, 2020
After travelling over 700 miles from their home in Vilseck, Germany to their new area of operations in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment deployed in support of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland and conducted a transfer of authority on Jan. 20, 2020.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark O'Neill, 3rd Squadron, 278th Cavalry Regiment, relinquished his authority over eFP BG-P to the incoming commander U.S. Army Lt. Col. Andrew Gallo, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment. During his farewell speech, Lt. Col. O'Neill reminiscing on his Squadron's experiences in Poland, said, "Training on wartime tasks was only part of the mission here; forging lasting relationships and strengthening the connecting tissue which bonds us is equally important." O'Neill, confident that the Battle Group is in good hands, continued, "While today marks the end of a chapter, Andy Gallo and 3/2CR are some of the best the U.S. Army has to offer."
Given that the Battle Group is comprised of over 1000 Soldiers from 4 different countries, Croatia, Romania, United Kingdom and United States, it is critical that all eFP BG-P units work well together. Lt. Col. Gallo said, "We arrive here excited for our mission. Our goal is to continue to enhance the Battle Group's ability to train and if necessary fight together." Gallo expressed his eagerness to lead the Battle Group, noting, "We are really looking forward to working with our Allies and continuing to enhance our interoperability."
NATO Battle Group Poland has many advantages to being so diverse. Each troop-contributing nation provides their own unique capabilities to the Battle Group. Whether it is reconnaissance, air defense artillery, armor or infantry, diversity is a strength of NATO. A commonly used message heard throughout the alliance and stated by the incoming commander of eFP BG-P, Lt. Col. Gallo is -- "We are stronger together."
Deploying significant amounts of equipment and Soldiers across a continent has many obstacles and limitations. However, due to the alliance's unique ability to deploy combat ready units anywhere in the world, the deployment process was much easier than expected.
Sgt. Maj. Russell O'Donnell, the non-commissioned officer in charge of operations for 3/2 CR and now BG-P had this to say, "I'm really proud of our command teams and our allied units." O'Donnell continued, "Assistance from our host nation [Poland] and our Allies facilitated a high degree of success in the deployment here."
After such an effective deployment to Poland over the last month, it is anticipated that eFP BG-P and subsequently 3/2 CR will develop a strong relationship with Allies in the NATO chain of command and codify new standards for an alliance that is stronger together.