The U.S. Army has announced that more than 150 Soldiers assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team “Strike,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) will deploy to Ukraine in mid-April for what is scheduled to be a nine-month tour.
The Soldiers will advise and assist the Ukrainian Armed Forces with the continued development of the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in western Ukraine. This initiative, known as the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U), has been ongoing since 2015 and seeks to contribute to Ukraine’s internal defense capabilities and training capacity. 2BCT will replace the Tennessee National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which arrived in Ukraine last summer.
The 2BCT task force will be comprised of Soldiers from each of the brigade’s seven organic battalions and will deploy as “Task Force Carentan,” named in honor of the battle at Carentan, France, liberated by Soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment following D-Day in June 6, 1944. This year is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and the JMTG-U deployment marks the return of the 502nd Inf. Regt. to Europe.
“The 502nd Infantry Regiment is the heart of this brigade, and from the Normandy Invasion to the Berlin Brigade, we share deep roots with our European allies,” said Col. Joseph E. Escandon, commander of 2BCT. “This mission plays an important role in contributing to the security of Europe as a whole. The Soldiers of Task Force Carentan stand ready to share their extensive knowledge and training experience, and we look forward to growing this strategic partnership with the UAF as we learn from their perspective and expertise.”
During their deployment, TF Carentan Soldiers will lead the JMTG-U effort as well as assist in the development of Ukrainian Armed Forces cadre, ranges and training areas, and help provide realistic training under a NATO interoperable framework. These train-the-trainer efforts will allow Ukraine to assume full training responsibility at the Yavoriv Training Center sometime in 2020.
“The majority of deploying Soldiers are leaders who have years of experience overseeing and conducting tough, realistic training,” said Lt. Col. Robert Tracy, commander of 1st Battalion, 502nd Inf. Regt, and senior commander for TF Carentan. “I expect this to be a great opportunity to share lessons learned from our own combat training centers as well as gain valuable insights from the UAF that will make the Strike brigade a more ready force.”
The training support is part of ongoing efforts by the United States to contribute to Ukraine’s long-term military reform and is being provided at the request of the Ukrainian government. The Soldiers participating in the mission will be in Ukraine strictly for training and advising purposes and will not be actively involved in operations in Ukraine’s conflict area.
TF Carentan will conduct a colors casing ceremony prior to the deployment at 1:00 p.m. at the 2BCT Headquarters on Fort Campbell, Apr. 12.