The U.S. Army says it will soon be sending armored Stryker vehicles on a 1,100-mile convoy through six European countries to show solidarity to allies in the wake of recent Russian actions in the Ukraine and Crimea that have Eastern Europe on edge.
The move was first reported Thursday in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. U.S. Army Europe posted the Stripes story on its website on Friday.
The convoy is “a highly visible demonstration of U.S, commitment to its NATO allies and demonstrating NATO’s ability to move military forces freely across allied borders in close cooperation,” U.S. Army Europe spokesman Lt. Col. Craig Childs, said in a statement, according to the Stripes report.
The troops and vehicles involved will be moving from training exercises conducted as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, the report said. They’ll move through Latvia and the Czech Republic as they make their way to Vilseck, Germany, about a 40 miles drive from the Czech border.
The troops involved are from the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which are based at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, and they will be accompanied by the Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, which will provide aerial reconnaissance, the Stripes report said.
The move is unusual because long-distance movement of heavy military vehicles such as the 18-ton Strykers is usually done by rail.
The trek is being called a “Dragoon Ride,” after the unit’s nickname, the Dragoons. Troops will camp out along the route.
“For those participating in it, Dragoon Ride is a unique opportunity,” Stripes quoted Childs as saying. “Soldiers and their leaders will have numerous opportunities to engage with local communities along the route, deepen their appreciation for the cultural diversity within the alliance and enhance the relationships that are essential to building and maintaining mutual admiration, respect and trust among allied militaries.”