29 June 2015

Detail of Canada's Deployment to Poland

In support of NATO defensive missions, the Canadian Army is deploying troops to Poland for Operation REASSURANCE. Details from Canadian Forces press release.

  • Soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group - part of the 2nd Canadian Division - will take part in a series of exercises over the next six months to demonstrate the troops’ state of readiness and operational interoperability with our NATO allies and our security partners.
  • These training opportunities ensure NATO is able to react in an effectively and in a timely manner to a whole possible situations no matter where they might occur.
  • The Canadian Army benefits from these training opportunities, which allow our soldiers to achieve better interoperability with NATO allies, showcase their capabilities, and further demonstrate their leadership abilities.
  • Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have been in Central and Eastern Europe since May 2014, and have participated in collective training exercises and partnership engagements with our allies.
  • Operation REASSURANCE refers to the military activities undertaken by the CAF in support of NATO’s assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Canada’s land contribution consists of the military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks.

28 June 2015

The Most Interesting Man In The Army

This guy is purportedly the last Vietnam vet on active duty. Which is pretty damn cool, really...

In the 1970s, he was among the last Marines sent to Vietnam.

In the '80s, as an Army Green Beret, he deployed into Honduras during the Contra Wars.

In 1991, he was gassed in Iraq.

But wait - Iraq didn't launch any chemical munitions at us, remember? Our stated policy was to shoot back with nukes, and I don't remember us using any nukes...

24 June 2015

Should've Just Left The Tanks There In The First Place

The US is going to "temporarily" pre-position armor assets and other equipment in Baltics, Poland, southern Europe. In this case "temporary" = "until the Russians quit dicking around," so it could be a while.

The U.S. will temporarily pre-position a brigade’s worth of tanks and other vehicles in the Baltics and elsewhere in eastern Europe, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in Estonia Tuesday, as the U.S. continues efforts to reassure allies concerned about Russian revanchism.

The U.S. will spread about 250 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, artillery and other equipment around Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, according to the plan, to make it easier for U.S. forces to participate in training maneuvers in those countries, according to the Defense Department. Such equipment is also stationed in Germany.

All of those countries “have agreed to host company- to battalion-size elements of this equipment, which will be moved around the region for training and exercises,” Carter said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Carter met in Estonia with his counterparts from all three Baltic states. Estonian President Toomas Ilves said the crisis in Ukraine underscored the need for the U.S.-led NATO alliance to demonstrate its solidarity with vulnerable partners.

“For a year and half now, a war has been underway in Europe,” Ilves said. “For Estonia, this has brought the realization that our freedom, our sense of security and safety is not as self-evident as we are used to believing. But we have also learned something else. We have learned about the solidarity of Estonia’s allies. And now, even the doubters know that Estonia has reliable allies.”

21 June 2015

Updating NATO?

Ash Carter is going to push the other NATO members to move beyond the "mass of Russian armor thru the Fulda Gap" plans that've been on the books for so long.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will urge NATO allies to "dispose of the Cold War playbook" during a trip to Europe this week, as the alliance adapts to a new kind of threat from Russia in the east and Islamic State to the south, U.S. officials said.

Carter heads first to Berlin, where he is expected to call for a more muscular global security role from Germany, Europe's largest economy. Germany remains hesitant to deploy troops abroad, seven decades after the end of World War Two.

"He will encourage Germany, under the firm leadership of the minister of defense, to increase their security role in the world, commensurate with their political and economic weight," a senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Relations between Moscow and the West have plunged to a post-Cold War low since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region. NATO says Russian is still actively providing military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, despite Moscow's denials.

U.S. officials say Ukraine has illustrated the importance of being able to counter "hybrid warfare," the blend of unidentified troops, propaganda and economic pressure that the west says Russia has used there. NATO's historic focus had been the conventional threats of the Cold War, which ended in 1991.

"Carter ... will really push the alliance to think about new threats, new techniques, urge them to kind of dispose of the Cold War playbook and think about new ways to counter new threats," the official said.

In visits in Germany and then in Estonia, Carter will get a first-hand look at NATO's new rapid response forces and climb aboard a U.S. warship fresh from Baltic Sea drills, aiming to reassure allies unnerved by Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

Carter will likely offer details on plans to pre-position heavy military equipment in Europe, the official said.

All of the moves been decried by Moscow, which has threatened to beef up its own forces and to add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.

17 June 2015

Closing Up Shop in Korea

We're closing down the'Iron' Brigade of 2ID(M) in Korea.

Spring cleaning was a bigger chore than usual for the 1st “Iron” Brigade Combat Team this year. Soldiers have been clearing out gear accumulated from 50 years on the Korean Peninsula.

In Korea since July 1965, the Iron Brigade is preparing to inactivate and turn over its mission to 4,600 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The Fort Hood, Texas-based unit will be the first rotational heavy brigade to deploy to South Korea when it takes over July 2.

Members of 1st Brigade have been going through nooks and crannies at Camp Hovey, their base just south of the Demilitarized Zone, and turning in excess equipment that has piled up over the decades.

Lt. Col. Darrell O’Steen, 45, of Douglas, Ga., 1st Brigade’s deputy commander, said it won’t be simple swapping permanently stationed soldiers for rotational troops.

When the unit cases its colors, its tanks, armored personnel carriers and other tactical vehicles will stay in Korea. The 2nd Brigade troops will use them during their rotation and pass them onto the unit that replaces them nine months later, O’Steen said.

The transfer of duties to the incoming troops will be similar to handovers in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, but it will be complicated by the need to maintain “fight tonight readiness all the way to the end,” according to 1st Brigade executive officer Maj. Ryan Workman, 36, of Evansville, Ind.

12 June 2015

"Tear down this wall!"

Today is the anniversary of the President Reagan's famous Tear down this wall! speech in West Berlin in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The complete text can be found here.

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

2-1/2 years later, the wall was down.

By: Brant