USAREUR expands into Hungary as part of east Europe reassurance initiative
October 23, 2015
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Europe plans to move units into Hungary Monday as it expands its presence in eastern Europe beyond the Baltics and Poland.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., is deploying with USAREUR as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the effort to show a beefed-up presence in eastern Europe since Russia’s intervention last year in Ukraine. USAREUR has relied heavily on forces rotating in from the States to maintain its hightened presence in the region.
U.S. troops have had a near-constant presence in the Baltic states and Poland and have participated in periodic exercises in Bulgaria and Romania to the south.
“It just reaffirms our commitment to our NATO partners,” said Col. Phil Brooks, the 1st Brigade commander. “Now, Hungary is part of that continued expansion with our NATO partners to provide assurance to our allies here.”
Elements of the 1st Brigade will replace the Vicenza, Italy-based, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.
Subordinate units, including the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor, will augment that deployment, bringing along Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. The 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, will be bringing Bradleys, but no tanks, to Hungary.
The 1st Brigade’s heavy vehicles have been drawn from the European Activity Set, heavy equipment the U.S. has positioned in eastern Europe for forces rotating in from the States.
“It makes my life logistically much easier,” Brooks said. “I have the opportunity to fly my soldiers over here with minimal additional equipment.”
As the regionally allocated force for U.S. Army Europe, the 1st Brigade serves both as the NATO response force in the region, as well as the European rotational force. Elements of the 1st Brigade are currently engaged in operations ranging from Spain to the Baltics.
The brigade has served as USAREUR’s regionally allocated force previously, having left Europe in June.
They will remain until December, when they will be temporarily relieved by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, before returning in spring of 2016.