Another 400 US troops and planes to deploy to Eastern Europe

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. John Graham, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and platoon sergeant with 2d Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 28, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, runs on snowshoes before Exercise Cold Response 2022 in Norway on February 18, 2022. Cold Response is a biennial exercise with militaries from NATO nations and regional partners. (Jacqueline Arre/US Marine Corps)

WASHINGTON — The United States is sending an additional 400 troops and several aircraft to Eastern Europe to bolster NATO defenses in the region as Russia continues its war against Ukraine, the spokesperson said Tuesday. Pentagon chief John Kirby.

About 200 members of Marine Air Control Group 28, based at Cherry Point, North Carolina, have arrived in Lithuania to support the defenses of the NATO ally, Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

Another 200 troops, 10 Marine Corps F-18 Hornets and “some C-130 aircraft” from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC, will also soon be deployed to Eastern Europe, he said.

The military has not yet determined where in Eastern Europe South Carolina’s troops and aircraft will be deployed, Kirby said.

The approximately 400 troops and various aircraft are heading to their new deployments after completing their participation this month in NATO’s Cold Response 2022 military exercises in Norway.

The US service members were among 30,000 troops from 27 partner nations in the biannual exercise, according to NATO.

During Exercise Cold Response, forces “travel through the vast wilderness, conduct live-fire exercises, jump into frozen lakes” and otherwise train for combat in cold-weather environments, according to NATO.

The 400 soldiers deployed in Eastern Europe join more than 100,000 American soldiers in Europe. About 14,000 of the 100,000 troops deployed to the region over the past two months by the United States in response to Russia’s continued attack on Ukraine.

Kirby said on Tuesday that sending more US troops and military assets to Europe was aimed at building military capabilities in the region rather than trying to achieve a goal of total force there.

“It’s not a numerical goal. It’s really about capabilities, and it’s based on constant conversations with our NATO allies on the eastern flank,” he said.

The announcement came a day after Kirby announced that approximately 240 sailors and six Navy EA-18G Growlers from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., would arrive at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany on Monday to support NATO in the middle of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“This is about enhancing readiness, improving NATO’s collective defense posture and further increasing air integration capabilities with our Allies and partners,” he said. Monday.

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