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U.S. Army Black Hawks reach Romania for NATO support operation

By Andrew V. Pestano
U.S. Army Black Hawks reach Romania for NATO support operation
Sgt. Allen Hennaman, from the 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, prepares to secure the rotary blades of a UH-60 Black Hawk at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania on Friday. Eight Black Hawks reached Romania from Greece on Thursday. Photo by U.S. Army/ Pvt. Nick Vidro

March 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense said eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters reached Romania as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve to support NATO allies.

The helicopters arrived at Romania's Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on Thursday from Greece to support the U.S. Army's 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.

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Maj. Joshua Meyer, operations officer for 10th CAB, called the operation an "incredibly unique deployment."

"The CAB is here to increase the capabilities of our NATO allies and ourselves," Meyer said in a statement. "First and foremost we're here to build relationships with our NATO allies; first with Romania and then in the future Bulgaria and Hungary. Some larger exercises such as Saber Guardian this summer will have over twenty NATO countries participating in it."

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Under Operation Atlantic Resolve, the United States has deployed troops to Europe that will train in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia for the next seven months as a show of force to directly respond to what the alliance sees as increased Russian aggression, particularly after Moscow's intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

"When you say deployment most of us think of Afghanistan or Iraq, somewhere hot and dusty. Here we are in beautiful Romania. This is a deployment to enhance the capabilities of ourselves and our NATO allies here in Europe," Meyer added.

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The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade will continue to arrive at seaports and airports into early March in support of the operation. Russia has criticized Operation Atlantic Resolve as a threat to Russian security that destabilizes Europe.

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Capt. James Bates, the commander of Bravo Company for the 10th CAB's 2nd Battalion, said the primary mission for the deployment to Romania is to conduct training for air assault missions, as well training to conduct "personnel recovery and causality evacuation exercises to demonstrate our ability to deploy expeditiously."

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