News: Paratroopers honor the 70th anniversary of Warsaw Uprising
Story by Spc. Hector Rene Membreno-Canales
DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland – As bells rang from the Resurrection Church in the town square here Aug. 1, paratroopers of the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the Royal Canadian Regiment stood at attention in silence as they honored the 70th anniversary of the Polish resistance against Nazi Germany during World War II.
The Warsaw Uprising, which began on Aug. 1, 1944 and lasted until Oct. 2, 1944, resulted in nearly 200,000 deaths.
Drawsko Pomorskie Mayor Zbigniew Ptak invited Polish, U.S., and Canadian paratroopers, who are actively training in areas near Drawsko Pomorskie as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, to participate in the remembrance ceremony.
“I was extremely humbled that the mayor invited us to participate in this event,” said Pvt. Chase Montgomery, a Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, native and paratrooper assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne. “I’m only 19 and recently out of high school, so this is a big thing to me. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
For younger Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne, this was an opportunity to interact with the people of Poland outside of training.
“Our Soldiers read about this in history books. They’ve read about Nazi Germany invading Poland, but this puts a face to that history and brings it into perspective,” said 1st Lt. Brad Bynum, a Brandon, Mississippi native and a field artillery officer attached to Company D.
Ptak said having NATO allies participate in the event is a symbol of partnership that has a huge impact on the local population. While looking at the polish flag, Mayor Ptak said he felt very safe and proud that the allies are training together.
“It shows that our ties are tight and that our partnerships grow,” said Ptak. “The overall sense is that we feel safe because of it.”
The remembrance of the Warsaw Uprising was not allowed until 1989 when the communist government fell.
Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are in Poland to participate in Operation Atlantic Resolve, combined military-forces training designed to foster cohesive relationships between allies and demonstrate a commitment to NATO obligations.