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    Lt. Gen. Hodges speaks with junior leaders in Rukla

    Lt. Gen. Hodges speaks with junior leaders in Rukla

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin | Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaks with...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Shapiro 

    10th Press Camp Headquarters

    RUKLA, Lithuania - Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, held a town hall meeting to discuss Operation Atlantic Resolve with members of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division on Nov. 7.

    Hodges outlined his intent for sustaining future operations throughout Lithuania and the Baltic region of Europe stating, “You are here because after Russia illegally annexed Crimea in early spring last year, all 28 nations of NATO said that is unacceptable in the 21st century to use force to change the internationally recognized sovereign border of a European country.”

    The 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment Soldiers are conducting numerous multinational training exercises throughout Europe in order increase interoperability and assure ally nations. Hodges emphasized the importance of the presence of U.S. forces in assuring NATO allies, “We used to have 300,000 soldiers stationed in Europe, and we’re trying to make the same impact now with just 30,000.”

    Hodges’ intends to increase the impact of his forces through his five pillar plan: Empowering junior leaders, National Guard and Reserve components, allies and partners, regionally-allocated forces, and having a dynamic presence.

    Hodges then elaborated on how junior leaders are empowered during Operation Atlantic Resolve and the unique responsibilities they will face.

    “Junior officers, company commanders, warrant officers, company first sergeants and platoon sergeants are going to be the senior authority for the U.S. military in the entire country of Latvia.”

    Hodges continued, “I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is. I can’t say that I need junior leaders and then not invest in them. I depend on you.”

    First Sgt. John Pickett, the senior enlisted leader of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, was able to discuss some of the challenges he observed during his time in Lithuania with Hodges.

    “Only being here for three months is kind of hard. I think a little longer rotation makes it a little easier because a lot of our time is spent moving equipment back and forth between here and Germany. I definitely think he understands the challenges of all the equipment. It’s one of our biggest challenges right now.”

    Hodges informed the audience that he has requested their brigade to come back in the future for a six-month rotation. He also informed them that the equipment issues would be alleviated as the plan is to have equipment that will remain in Lithuania that rotational units can draw during their deployments.

    “Three months does not help us get the maximum effect out of the investment. Six months, plus when we have all the equipment here, will enable us to have a more effective deployment.”

    Operation Atlantic Resolve provides U.S. and allied forces the opportunity to work and train together and improves their ability to operate as a combined force; that capability is essential to the security and strength of Europe.



    Date Taken: 11.07.2015
    Date Posted: 11.07.2015 19:35
    Story ID: 181297
    Location: RUKLA, LT 

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