The 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team took its colors on flight bound for eastern Europe on Saturday, as the deployment for Operation Atlantic Resolve continues.
The division’s headquarters, Division Artillery, 2nd ABCT and its 3rd Sustainment Brigade are deploying as part of the U.S. and NATO response to Russian aggression on the European mainland. Nearly 4,500 soldiers will be gone for nine months. They are expected to return in late spring or early summer 2024, Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Marc Austin told attendees at the Liberty County communitywide planning retreat.
Another approximately 200 soldiers departed Saturday, and while in Europe, these soldiers will qualify on ranges with their assigned weapons and armored equipment to participate in joint exercises with partner forces within weeks after their arrival.
In the meantime, Col. Austin said one of the command’s initiative is to make sure the spouses and families left behind are still engaging in the community. The benefits are many-fold for both the Army, its spouses and families and the local economy.
“One of my responsibilities as garrison commander is to minimize that impact economically, not just for your benefit but for the families’ benefit,” he said. “The families go to a dark place and they stay at home. They lose the connection to the community. If you’re stuck in the house, it’s lonely. That’s my concern as garrison commander. I’m worried about the families. The benefit is the economic downturn won’t be as great.”
Soldiers already in Poland got a show from the band AJR, which has turned out alternative music hits “Burn the House Down” and “Way Less Sad.” AJR is made up of three brothers — Adam, Jack and Ryan Metzger — of New York City.
“It’s cool to see these big name bands come over and take care of our kids,” Col. Austin said.
While the 2nd Brigade trains in Poland with NATO partners, its position as the Army’s most advanced and modern brigade will be ceded to the 3rd ID’s 1st Brigade, which is soon to take in new Abrams, Bradleys and other vehicles, Col. Austin said.