|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Feb 12, 2017 03:01 AM EST|
(Photo : US Army) U.S. Army M1A2SEPV2 Abrams arrive in Poland to strengthen NATO.
The lead elements of a second major U.S. Army combat unit arrived in Europe on Feb. 9 even as other U.S. units and their tanks took up positions in Latvia and Lithuania, two of three Baltic States threatened with invasion by Russia.
The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade is in the process of offloading more than 700 pieces of support equipment in Antwerp, Belgium prior to their deployment to NATO member countries along the western border of Russia.
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Some 2,200 U.S. Army soldiers from the brigade and their equipment will establish themselves at strategic positions threatening any advance by the Russian Army. The brigade was formerly based at Fort Drum in New York State.
The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade operates 86 aircraft, including 12 Boeing CH-47 Chinook twin-engine, heavy lift helicopters, and 38 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopters also used to transport combat troops to the battle area. A Black Hawk can carry up to 11 combat-ready soldiers.
The brigade will remain in Europe from February to November and was sent to Europe to support NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve. As part of this effort, the United States is deploying troops to Europe that will train in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia until November.
The U.S. military deployment is also a show of force to directly respond to what NATO sees as increased Russian aggression following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its invasion of eastern Ukraine.
The U.S. forces will fight if NATO is attacked by Russia. Under the NATO treaty, an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on the alliance as a whole.
Earlier, U.S. Army troops and soldiers of the Czech Land Forces arrived in Lithuania on Jan. 8 to train with the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Previous to their arrival, NATO deployed soldiers of the German "Bundesheer" (the German Federal Army) to Lithuania as part of NATO's push to better defend the two Baltic States.
The German battalion now on Lithuanian soil forms part of a 1,200-strong NATO multinational battalion that also includes French, Dutch and Belgian troops. NATO plans to deploy four of these multinational enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion battle groups throughout the Baltic States.
Also, the United States in January deployed the first contingent of a US. Army brigade combat team to Poland. This entire unit will number over 3,500 well-trained troops of the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, U.S. 4th Infantry Division (3-4 ABCT).
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