The soldiers left Fort Bragg on Thursday, arriving in Poland 24 hours later. To help “deter or defeat Russian aggression”, the force of approximately 1,700 soldiers, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division will remain in Poland.
To establish the Combined Joint Task Force Dragon, 300 additional service members will travel to Germany.
U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue led the evacuation of Kabul, and was the last soldier to leave. He will now lead the forces in their NATO-allied deployment.
Capt. Matt Visser, spokesperson for the XVIII Airborne Corps. “Our Corps’ presence in Europe serves to strengthen existing U.S. forces and shows our commitment to NATO Allies and Partners.”
Donahue’s deployment, along with that of the 82nd, will be used to communicate to Putin that while the U.S. has withdrawn from Afghanistan, it is still available to deploy elite forces if necessary.
Around 7,000 Americans are registered in Ukraine, with another 25,000 not yet registered. The State Department and other agencies have been urging Americans to evacuate as soon as possible. Non-combatant evacuations are unlikely to occur if Russia controls the airspace above Ukraine.
Donahue’s presence should provide some relief in the event of a worsening situation. As an additional protection against a possible Russian invasion, the U.S. promised to send around 3,000 troops to Poland as well as Romania.
This week, the U.S. deployed special operators Tier 1 to kill ISIS’s head in Syria. This is an area where Russia controls and has operated airspace.