Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Supporters brave cold, rain along Dragoon Ride route from Poland to Czech Republic

    3/2 CAV visits Eastern Europe communities on Dragoon Ride

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christina Dion | Local residents waited hours in the cold and rain to show support to the U.S. Army for...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Christina Dion 

    319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    LIBEREC, Czech Republic - The dark overcast sky kept the temperature hovering around 6 Celsius, with intermittent rain all day. The convoy through Poland to the Czech Republic was delayed by hours. Even after waiting more than eight hours, supporters were determined to welcome U.S. Soldiers of “Killer” Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, to The Czech Republic during Dragoon Ride, March 29.

    Dragoon Ride is the latest participation of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cav. Regt., in Atlantic Resolve. The Squadron spent the last few months living and training alongside allied forces in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Instead of sending equipment out of the area via railcars, U.S. Army Europe leadership decided to bring the troops closer to the people they support with the 1,100 mile trek through the Baltic States to Germany.

    The convoy, or mechanized road march, made a huge impact on area residents. This was evident to “Killer” Troop as they rolled through cities, towns and villages lined with supporters.

    The number of people lining the streets increased as the convoy made its way closer to the Poland and the Czech Republic border and amplified more as they crossed and entered the Czech border towns. Residents showed their support by waving American flags, hanging them from buildings, on fences, on cars and in hands.

    Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander, U.S. Army Europe, said the outpouring of support has amazed him. People have lined highways, side roads, overpasses and buildings along the route cheering and holding American flags from Estonia through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic.

    The supporters ranged from elders who remember when the Soviet Union came through the same route in 1968 to toddlers just waiting to see cool trucks pass by. Whatever the perspective, residents made sure to explain that they were waiting in the frigid temps because they wanted the Soldiers to know that their roads were safe for U.S. Army troops.

    In Swiny, Poland, a small town with a castle in ruins hovering above, one man said he remembers when the Soviets invaded. He said his home across the street has been in his family for years and he was there whey they came through with their tanks.

    Fear of a Russian invasion still lives with these people and having the U.S. Army here makes them feel safer, said another supporter who was waiting at the Poland and Czech border.

    After Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and Crimea, peoples’ fears started to escalate. Hodges said this is what prompted Atlantic Resolve.

    “After Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, the 20 nations of NATO met in Wales back in September for the NATO summit,” said Hodges. “They all recognized that it was important for the alliance to demonstrate its solidarity for the alliance and that we needed to provide assurance to our allies, particularly in the Baltics.”

    Hodges explained that showing solidarity meant ensuring U.S. Soldiers were in those countries conducting military exercise with allies. This effort is known as Atlantic Resolve; A continuous series of exercises stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. More than 30 exercises are planned for this year, all of them multinational.

    “As part of the rotation with the Army’s regionally aligned force, and rotational brigade taking over, it was time for (3rd Squadron, 2nd Cav.) to head back to Vilseck,” said Hodges. “We thought we could increase the effect and allow more people to see (the Soldiers) by having them drive back instead of having (the vehicles) come back on a rail.”

    Soldiers of “Killer” Troop completed the first two legs of the Dragoon Ride taking them from Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, to Harrachov, Czech Republic March 28 and 29. After the first day, Soldiers spend the night at a Polish military compound in Skwierzyna, Poland, and continued the next day to Harrichov, Czech Republic. Killer troop will press on through Czech cities over the next few days before completing its tour of Europe at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.



    Date Taken: 03.29.2015
    Date Posted: 03.30.2015 11:00
    Story ID: 158538
    Location: LIBEREC, CZ

    Web Views: 225
    Downloads: 0