FORT STEWART, Ga. - - Spartan Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, celebrated the official conclusion of their deployment by uncasing the brigade’s colors in a small ceremony at Marne Garden on Fort Stewart, Georgia, Dec. 18, 2020.
Col. Terry R. Tillis, 2ABCT commander, hosted the ceremony. Tillis took command of the brigade on July 20, this past summer. He spoke with passion and pride of the accomplishments the brigade made during their deployment.
“We are excited to be back in Georgia and excited to be home for the holidays,” said Tillis. “Spartans, well done. You have exceeded all expectations and outperformed at every level. We are truly proud of you and excited to be back home, where we can share in the excitement with our loved ones.”
The ceremony symbolized the unit’s return home from a nine-month deployment of 3,483 Soldiers to Europe in support of United States Army Europe’s exercise Allied Spirit, a small-scale version of exercise DEFENDER Europe 20 and their follow-on mission, Atlantic Resolve.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DEFENDER Europe 20 modified its original plan of a large-scale exercise to ensure the health and safety of the Soldiers. The U.S. and Polish-partnered exercise, Allied Spirit, featured the brigade crossing a river to defeat a near peer threat alongside Polish Allies in the Drawsko-Pormorskie Training Area, Poland.
After spending five months in Poland, the brigade transitioned to the armored rotation of the USAREUR Atlantic Resolve mission. The Spartans embraced the new strategic mission and continued training in Germany, Romania, Hungary and Poland.
“The brigade displayed its tenacity and resiliency as we rapidly transitioned from one collective event to another,” said Tillis. “The brigade began its journey executing DEFENDER 20 in Poland, only to quickly remission and transition to the Armored Brigade Combat Team Regionally Aligned Force for Europe.”
U.S. Army Europe continues to lead the Department of Defense’s Atlantic Resolve mission of increasing land efforts by bringing units based in the U.S to Europe for months at a time.
Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, indicated in 2018 that historical precedence proved that units like 2ABCT, under the 1st Cavalry Division (Forward), were in the right place in Eastern Europe.
“The Cold War ended with the victory of the people of Europe,” said Cavoli. “The people of Europe were liberated from decades of misrule, and received the opportunity to start life anew, as part of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. And that continues to be our mission today. And the Atlantic Resolve mission, just like its history would suggest, is here to fulfil that mission again.”
Atlantic Resolve’s culminating event, Combined Resolve XIV, was a joint multinational collective training exercise hosted at 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The event was designed to showcase NATO’s military might across the European front while evaluating and assessing the readiness of the brigade to fight and win.
The goal of these exercises is to evaluate and increase the military readiness and lethality of all U.S. allies and partners. Combining forces on such a massive scale showcased their interoperability and helped to continue promoting regional stability, further enhancing relationships between the U.S. allies and their partnered militaries.
“Throughout all the back-to-back collective events, and amidst a global pandemic, the Spartan Brigade exercised their ability to tackle complex problem sets and to be resourceful and diligent in getting the mission done,” said Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto, the commanding general of 3rd Infantry Division.
“Over the past 10 months, you have done extraordinary things. Be proud of your accomplishments and your Dogface Soldier legacy. We are so glad to have you back, and I look forward to what your brigade will accomplish in the modernization efforts ahead.”
Now that the Spartans are stateside, they’ll spend the next several weeks focused on their transition to garrison operations as equipment continues to arrive from the ports of Europe.
“Let’s continue to focus on staying healthy,” said Tillis. “Stay engaged as we account for all of our personnel and equipment and set conditions to enjoy much earned leave.”