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A soldier from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, waits for an opening on the receiving line for vehicles leaving the cargo ship Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The soldier pictured is part of a 3,500-person force deployed to Europe for nine months in support of Atlantic Resolve. 

Will Morris/Stars and Stripes
A soldier from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, waits for an opening on the receiving line for vehicles leaving the cargo ship Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The soldier pictured is part of a 3,500-person force deployed to Europe for nine months in support of Atlantic Resolve. Will Morris/Stars and Stripes (Will Morris/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, waits for an opening on the receiving line for vehicles leaving the cargo ship Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The soldier pictured is part of a 3,500-person force deployed to Europe for nine months in support of Atlantic Resolve. 

Will Morris/Stars and Stripes
A soldier from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, waits for an opening on the receiving line for vehicles leaving the cargo ship Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The soldier pictured is part of a 3,500-person force deployed to Europe for nine months in support of Atlantic Resolve. Will Morris/Stars and Stripes (Will Morris/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier checks off a truck from an inventory of vehicles transported aboard the cargo vessel Endurance, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The truck was one of some 976 vehicles that are being offloaded at Antwerp, Belgium in support of Atlantic Resolve.
A soldier checks off a truck from an inventory of vehicles transported aboard the cargo vessel Endurance, Sunday, May 20, 2018. The truck was one of some 976 vehicles that are being offloaded at Antwerp, Belgium in support of Atlantic Resolve. (Will Morris/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier drives an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, down the ramp of a cargo vessel in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018.
A soldier drives an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, down the ramp of a cargo vessel in Antwerp, Belgium, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (Will Morris/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier directs a tracked vehicle off the cargo vessel Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The vehicle was one of some 395 tracked vehicles that are being offloaded in Antwerp's port in support of Atlantic Resolve an ongoing NATO deterrence operation.
A soldier directs a tracked vehicle off the cargo vessel Endurance in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The vehicle was one of some 395 tracked vehicles that are being offloaded in Antwerp's port in support of Atlantic Resolve an ongoing NATO deterrence operation. (Will Morris/Stars and Stripes )

ANTWERP, Belgium — Troops and equipment from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have arrived at the port facility here to start a nine-month rotation as part of the NATO mission to support allies concerned about a more aggressive Russia.

On Sunday morning, some 200 troops from the brigade started offloading tanks, armored vehicles and Humvees from the cargo ship Endurance. Two more cargo ships are scheduled to arrive and finish offloading their cargo by Friday.

In all, the Fort Hood, Texas-based brigade is deploying some 3,000 soldiers in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Col. Wilson Rutherford IV, brigade combat team commander, said he wants his junior leaders and enlisted soldiers to take initiative and engage in independent thought, both of which helped him as a young officer in Europe.

Rutherford said he has also been encouraging his troops to learn about the people in their host countries and to make friends, rather than just allies.

“I want them to go out there and make a friend that is enduring,” he said.

Rutherford said the friends he made earlier in his career in Europe assist him today with improving the European security situation.

The 16th Sustainment Brigade, based in Baumholder, Germany, is transporting the brigade’s 87 M-1 Abrams tanks, 125 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 18 Paladins, 976 wheeled vehicles and other equipment to five areas in Poland, where the combat team is staging.

Elements of the brigade will begin training June 3 for 12 days at Saber Strike 18, an exercise in Eastern Europe involving approximately 18,000 troops from 19 different countries. The drill will “demonstrate the Alliance’s determination and ability to act as one in response to any aggression,” according to a U.S. Army Europe statement.

Pfc. Vincent Lugan, a tanker with the 1st Cavalry who has never deployed before, said he was excited to learn about the cultures of the various NATO countries and to be “able to do what I joined the Army to do.”

The Ironhorse Division replaces the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan. Atlantic Resolve was launched in April 2014, following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

morris.william@stripes.com Twitter: @willatstripes

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