In the fields of the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, flanked by M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M109A6 â€œPaladin” howitzers, and M1A2 Abrams Tanks, over one hundred U.S. and Polish troops gathered for the arrival of U.S. and Polish officials for a troop engagement in support of DEFENDER-Europe 20. Defender 20 is the largest U.S. force deployment to Europe in more than 25 years. The exercise demonstrates the U.S. military’s ability to quickly deploy a large force to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and respond to any crisis.
Among the distinguished visitors present were Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, U.S. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harvey, Commanding General of the 7th Mission Support Command and Deputy Commanding General of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Col. Timothy O’Connor, commanding officer of 1st Infantry Division Forward, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, and General Rajmund T. Andrzejczak, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces.
â€œDEFENDER-Europe 20 demonstrates and develops extensive military capabilities that the NATO alliance needs to prevent conflict, preserve peace, and keep our nations safe,” said Harvey. â€œThousands of U.S. soldiers have already arrived into Europe. I would like to give a profound thank you to the U.S. and Polish soldiers standing in formation around me. Thank you for what you do for your country.”
Approximately 37,000 U.S., allied and partner service nation service members from 18 different countries are expected to participate in the exercise. DEFENDER 20 demonstrates U.S. commitment to NATO and its resolve to stand by its European Allies and Partners.
Several U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company, 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, were presented medals by President Duda. Included among those soldiers were: 1st Lt. Margaret Hubbell, Sgt. Anthony Basile, Spc. Matthew Fernandez, and Spc. Sean Partridge.
â€œThe United States of America is sending 20,000 sons and daughters across an ocean, across a continent,” said Mosbacher. â€œThere is no better example than the United States’ commitment to NATO, our allies, and to Poland than this exercise. All of those who may not share our values or threaten our freedoms should be watching carefully. Standing on this field today is what ensures freedom and democracy.”