After traveling over 700 miles from their home in Vilseck, Germany, to their new area of operations in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, U.S. Soldiers, assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, deployed in support of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland and conducted a transfer of authority 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, 3/2CR.
"Training on wartime tasks was only part of the mission here," said O'Neill during his farewell speech reminiscing on his squadron's experiences in Poland. "Forging lasting relationships and strengthening the connecting tissue which bonds us is equally important. 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 BG-P is comprised of more than a thousand Soldiers from four different countries, Croatia, Romania, United Kingdom and United States, it is critical that all eFP BG-P units work well together.
"We arrive here excited for our mission," said Gallo. "Our goal is to continue to enhance the battle group's ability to train and if necessary, fight together. We are really looking forward to working with our allies and continuing to enhance our interoperability."
NATO's eFP BG-P 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.
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.
"I'm really proud of our command teams and our allied units," said Sgt. Maj. Russell O'Donnell, the noncommissioned officer in charge of operations for 3/2CR and now over BG-P. "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, it is anticipated that eFP BG-P and subsequently 3/2CR will develop a stronger relationship with allies in the NATO chain of command and codify new standards for the alliance. A commonly used message heard throughout the alliance and stated by Gallo, the incoming commander of eFP BG-P, rings true, "We are stronger together."