The US Army will deploy nearly 6,000 troops, along with tanks, infantry vehicles, heavy howitzers, and combat helicopters to step up its “armored presence” in Eastern Europe, where a massive NATO buildup to counter an “assertive” Russia is underway.
The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3rd ABCT) of the Colorado-based 4th Infantry Division will deploy 4,000 soldiers in the region in January of next year, the US Army said in a press release.
In addition, the Army will send more than half of the New York-based 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, comprising 1,750 airmen, along with 60 aircraft, including CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Blackhawks, and medevac helicopters, according to Stars and Stripes.
Both units will be part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US-led buildup on Russia’s borders whose stated goal is “reassuring”America’s Eastern European allies, which claim to perceive a threat from Russia.
The 3rd ABCT is said to be the first “rotation” armored brigade that will be deployed in Europe. It will first arrive in Poland, where the brigade’s headquarters will be set up, along with an armored cavalry unit and a field artillery battalion wielding self-propelled M109 Paladin howitzers.
Other brigade elements will spread across the region, Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Brown, a 4th Infantry Division spokesman, told the newspaper.
One battalion with M1 Abrams tanks will be stationed in Estonia and Latvia, while another will operate in Germany. A mechanized infantry battalion with M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and M1 Abrams tanks will move to Romania and Bulgaria.
“I am confident we are the right heavy brigade to continue the armored presence in Europe,” Colonel Christopher R. Norrie, commander of the 3rd Armored Brigade, said on Thursday.
In the meantime, the 10th aviation brigade is expected to be headquartered in Germany, while its units will be forward-based at undisclosed locations in Latvia, Romania, and Poland, Stars and Stripes reported.