It appear that America is responding to Russia’s recent Military show of force and with an eye toward Russia’s ability to mass troops quickly, the US plans to demonstrate its own ability to move manpower and heavy vehicles as soldiers begin a 1,100-mile convoy through six countries en route to their home station in Vilseck, Germany. The US Army squadron wrapping several months of training with allies in Poland will take its Strykers through the Baltics March 21 through April 1, stopping in a new community each night. The vehicles are part of an armored brigade’s worth of equipment the Army plans to station in Europe. “It’s helped us further develop our understanding of freedom of movement in Eastern Europe,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Army’s most senior commander in Europe, in an interview with Defense News and Army Times reporters and editors.
The “Dragoon Ride” will take 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, troops from training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and convoy them through Latvia and the Czech Republic to Vilseck. “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin exercises freedom of movement all the time” within Russia, Hodges said, and the US plans to demonstrate how it converges people and vehicles, a “tremendous opportunity” to practice and reassure allies in the face of Russian aggression. To pull it off, the Army is navigating diplomatic requirements and assessing infrastructure among Eastern European allies. “This is what the US Army does, we can move a lot of capability a long distance,” Hodges said. “I’ve been watching the Russian exercises … what I cared about is they can get 30,000 people and 1,000 tanks in a place really fast. Damn, that was impressive.” FULL REPORT