The first 2,000 US troops sent to Europe to deal with Ukraine crisis: ‘Heady tension’

2022-04-23 0 By

On Thursday, February 3, 2022, a young lieutenant showed off his “big MAC” at fort Bragg airport in north Carolina — waiting for the c-17 Globe masterIII transport plane to take him and his unit to Europe,It was his first assignment outside the United States since the first major confrontation between the United States and Russia (during the fall of the Soviet Union), and remarkably, he had received little notice before it.The fort Bragg soldiers boarding c-17s bound for Europe were “mind-blowing and intense,” he said.”Three generations of us have been in the military, my grandfather is now 82, and my father spent some time in Prague.So when I told my father I was going to be deployed in Europe, my father reached out and congratulated me.”American soldiers deployed to Europe gathered at the staging area of the airport in the morning, had a quick breakfast and then boarded planes across the Atlantic without being told when they would return home.Notably, to bolster NATO’s combat capabilities in eastern Europe, the U.S. rushed the first batch of about 2,000 U.S. troops from fort Bragg to Europe, tasked with blocking any plans that Russian president VladimirPutin might have to use the 130,000 troops he has amassed in neighboring countries to conquer Ukraine.Around noon on Thursday, the soldiers took off in C-17s.The Biden administration put troops on high alert last week and was told to prepare to deploy quickly as Russia massed troops near several countries’ borders with Ukraine.Russia has demanded that Ukraine be barred from NATO.It should be noted that troops from Fort Bragg will be deployed to Germany and Poland, far from the Ukrainian front, reportedly because of concerns about the danger posed by the initial blitzkrieg by Russian troops.Another 8,500 troops remain on what is known as high alert, including those from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., and at bases in Arizona, Texas, Washington, Louisiana, Georgia and Ohio.It’s worth noting that many of Bragg’s troops are part of the Army’s Immediate Response Force — a rotating contingent of service members who are permanently on standby and serve as America’s 9/11 emergency responders.The goal is to be able to deploy in about 18 hours.This responsibility and high level of readiness is transferred between units in Prague approximately every six months.In practice, this means soldiers have to pack their bags, prepare their weapons and take care of all their personal affairs in order to respond anywhere in the world with little warning.”That’s what being in the Army Instant Response Corps is all about, being the face of the nation.So we take it very seriously;You put your best foot forward when your country needs it, “revealed the infantry captain and Afghanistan war veteran.”Being here is an opportunity to cherish.”The U.S. troops deployed include administrative personnel and ground combat troops — no heavy armored vehicles or attack aircraft.The deployment is relatively small compared with the forces Russia has built up along the Ukrainian border — and could lead to a catastrophic conflict.”The United States stands shoulder to shoulder with our NATO Allies,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a media briefing on Wednesday.”The current situation requires us to strengthen our deterrence and defense posture on NATO’s eastern flank.”There are no plans to reinforce Ukraine’s front lines with American troops.About 150 Florida National Guard soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team are on a training mission in Ukraine.However, the guards are on the other side of the country, away from Russian forces — including tanks, artillery and warships.Meanwhile, more troops at Fort Bragg are preparing and massing at the base’s airfield and are expected to continue flying within a week.