Airborne arrivals: 101st brigade, 82nd unit headed to Eastern Europe on rotation
Stars and Stripes September 21, 2023
The U.S. Army will send another infantry brigade and division headquarters to Eastern Europe in the coming months, meaning that the Pentagon is sticking with a larger force presence established after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., will deploy 3,400 soldiers to replace the division’s 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team this fall, the Army announced Wednesday.
The units primarily will be based out of locations in Romania, but also will carry out missions stretching up to the High North, said Col. Martin O’Donnell, U.S. Army Europe and Africa spokesman.
Additionally, about 200 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters at Fort Liberty, N.C., will replace a 10th Mountain Division headquarters that has been operating out of Romania.
“The deployments are one-for-one unit replacements and will not change the overall U.S. force posture in the region,” the Army said.
There was an ongoing debate in the Pentagon about whether to replace soldiers deployed to Europe at all, NBC News reported earlier this month.
Some U.S. officials argued that those troops and funds could be used elsewhere, NBC reported, citing unidentified defense officials.
Maj. Gen. Brett Sylvia, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, said Wednesday that the mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank “remains vital to maintaining security on the European continent.”
The 3rd BCT will maneuver along NATO’s eastern flank, carrying out exercises with other U.S. and allied units.
The infantrymen and the division headquarters overseeing them give U.S. Army Europe and Africa a larger presence in southeastern Europe and the broader Black Sea region.
Many of the other rotational units now in Europe are concentrated more in the north, with Poland serving as a main operational hub for an armored brigade and various headquarters elements.
The U.S. has roughly 100,000 troops in Europe, up from around 80,000 operating on the Continent shortly ahead of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022.