Nearly 500 servicemen of the 3rd Armored Brigade’s (“Iron”) 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment (“Fighting Eagles”) of the US Army started on Tuesday morning to unload 15 M1 Abrams tanks and two tow vehicles, that arrived by train on the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” Air Base, during an operation that entails deploying the equipment for a series of exercises that will take place in the following nine months in the Smardan Polygon.
Present at the equipment’s unloading ramp, where, during the night, the train carrying the armored vehicles and auxiliary machines arrived, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Sabat, the commander of the “Fighting Eagles”, stated that the M1 Abrams tanks, each weighing 60 tons have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, on board of some specialized transport ships, after leaving in November their permanent base in Fort Carson, Colorado. After being unloaded in Germany, the column set off by train, heading to Poland and, finally Bulgaria.
The exercise that will be attended by the US military forces is to be carried out alongside tanks and mechanized infantry subunits belonging to the 284th “Cuza Voda” Tank Battalion and the 300th “Saint Andrew” Mechanized Infantry Battalion within the Romanian Land Forces structure. The exercise will begin on 15 March in the Smardan Polygon, being part of the US commitment for ensuring the security of the NATO eastern flank, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve .
“The ‘Fighting Eagles’ 1st Battalion will be stationed the Black Sea shore, in Romania, for nine months, afterwards being replaced by another combat unit, that will be deployed here with its own military equipment, and we will load everything in wagons and leave the ‘Mihail Kogalniceanu’ Air Base,” the US officer stated.
In the upcoming period, several M2 Bradley IFVs as well as M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers will also arrive by train at the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” Air Base.
According to the National Defence Ministry (MApN), the deployment in Romania develops the Romanian-American cooperation in the security area, ensuring opportunities of joint training that will enhance the NATO allies and partners capabilities, and also improve inter-operability and general capacity of the US forces to respond to a possible crisis.
“The development of the Romanian-American strategic partnership is a major objective, assumed on a national level, both in the political and military areas. In this context, the rotational presence of US forces on Romanian territory and in the Black Sea region, as well as the support ensured by the US in the upgrading process of national defense capacities have an essential role in the current security context of the Black Sea region”.
U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm: The 1/8’s arrival underscores that the strong U.S.-Romania strategic partnership exists in both word and deed
The Embassy of the United States of America welcomes the arrival of the “Fighting Eagles,” 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment (1/8) to Romania. The U.S diplomatic mission announced in a press release on Tuesday that the U.S. soldiers bring M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Paladins (155 mm self-propelled artillery)that will be stationed at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Constanta County. This is part of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division’s deployment to Europe which will continue on a rotational basis into the foreseeable future.
“The 1/8’s arrival underscores that the strong U.S.-Romania strategic partnership exists in both word and deed. This new persistent rotational presence expands our capacity to pursue our collective interest in maintaining peace and security in southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region. Significantly, Romania also is a provider of security for the international community, not just a beneficiary, as their continuing commitment to Afghanistan, the counter-ISIL mission, and its recent decision to spend 2% of their GDP on defense clearly demonstrates,” the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm stated, according to the quoted press release.
“While in Romania, U.S. forces will train and exercise with the Romanian armed forces, other NATO Allies, and Partner nations, including with the Multinational Brigade headquartered in Craiova. All elements of the ABCT will periodically reconstitute as a brigade at various massing events that demonstrate its capacity to rapidly deliver effective combat power anywhere within the area of NATO’s eastern allies,” the U.S. Embassy release maintains.