RIGA, Latvia – The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, unloaded aircraft and equipment at the Port of Riga as part of their rotation supporting Atlantic Resolve on April 26, 2023. Soldiers assigned to Task Force Knighthawk unloaded CH-47 Chinooks for the first time in the port’s history.
“By bringing CH-47 Chinooks through the Port of Riga, 3rd CAB can expedite our capabilities and start training and building relationships with our Latvian partners,” said Matthew Blair, Task Force Knighthawk executive officer. “It’s also a test of our logistical skills, with this being the first time this aircraft has been unloaded at this port.”
Approximately 50 Soldiers unloaded more than 20 aircraft, including CH-47 Chinooks, HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawks, and UH-60 Blackhawks, as well as over 80 containers and 200 vehicles.
“The Port of Riga was the second of the three-port operations the brigade has conducted as we move into the European theater,” said Blair. “Task Force Knighthawk successfully unloaded our ship, ARC Endurance, and it set sail for Esjberg, Denmark, the next day.”
By conducting port operations across Europe, 3rd CAB can streamline the equipment and aircraft download process, allowing it to be moved to multiple forward operating sites quicker.
“This port plan allows the CAB to quickly uncoil and begin training,” said Maj. Nicholas Kalitka, 3rd CAB executive officer. “We’re able to validate our equipment, establish relationships with our allies and partners and immediately integrate into training exercises such as Operation Griffen Shock.”
Moving an entire combat aviation brigade is no small feat when supporting interoperability initiatives between our NATO allies and partners. To meet the need, 3rd CAB quickly expedited the movement of three battalions and one squadron, each comprised of unique equipment to support the brigade’s mission.
“Our Latvian partners are great teammates,” said Blair. “They were our security at the port and our hosts at Lielvarde airbase. They have been very generous hosts during our stay. We’re looking forward to working with them again. “
Throughout the three port operations, the 3rd CAB has unloaded approximately 90 aircraft, over 900 vehicles, and over 500 containers across ports in Thessaloniki, Greece; Riga, Latvia; and Esjberg, Denmark.
Since April 2014, U.S. Army Europe and Africa has led the Department of Defense's Atlantic Resolve land efforts. Atlantic Resolve provides rotational deployments of combat-credible forces to Europe to show our commitment to NATO while building readiness, increasing interoperability and enhancing the bonds between ally and partner militaries.
As of Nov. 2021, the newly reactivated V Corps has assumed command and control of all Atlantic Resolve rotational forces.
For more information about Atlantic Resolve, visit the U.S. Army Europe and Africa website at europeafrica.army.mil/AtlanticResolve/