Army in Europe in search of new ‘mantra’ that includes Africa mission
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 14, 2020
STUTTGART, Germany — “Strong Europe,” the slogan that currently defines the Army’s mission on the Continent, is on the way out as the service looks for one that includes its new mission in Africa.
And the Army says it wants help figuring out what it should be.
“We need a new guiding mantra,” U.S. Army Europe-Africa said in a statement. “A slogan that represents our newly consolidated organization and expanded missions.”
The headquarters, based in Wiesbaden, Germany, is accepting ideas for slogans until Feb. 1. The winning entry will be formally recognized, it said.
In November, the Army officially merged its Europe and Africa headquarters under one four-star command led by Gen. Christopher Cavoli, who was previously in charge of U.S. Army Europe as a three-star general. The Army said the move was intended to better coordinate interconnected U.S. European and Africa Command missions.
But it also means the Army needs to change the way it talks about itself.
“Army Strong, Strong Europe!” became USAREUR’s official slogan in December 2014, one month after now-retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges took command of the Army’s mission in Europe. The slogan was partly a response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine earlier that year and served as an attempt to demonstrate solidarity with allies nervous about Russia’s aggressive moves.
Strong Europe “seeks to create the same strategic effects of the 300,000 troops from the 1980s with today’s 30,000 soldiers,” Hodges said at the time. The slogan was stamped on command news releases, videos and strategy documents.
Now, the Army says it wants a message that captures the spirit of both its Europe and Africa missions. What isn’t changing though is USAREUR’s iconic “sword of freedom” patch. Soldiers have donned it ever since Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower did the same during World War II. The patch represents the defeat of oppression and strength of alliances, USAREUR-AF said.
“Now this patch represents the same values for our partners in Africa,” the command said. “With our expanded missions and partners, we are no longer just Strong Europe.”
Slogan submissions can be filed at: www.europeafrica.army.mil/slogan/