The U.S. ship Endurance carried over 2,400 pieces of equipment, including tanks, other tracked vehicles and more than 1,200 wheeled vehicles and trailers and a team of soldiers from the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Savannah, Georgia to the port at Bremerhaven. They were welcomed by Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, Commander of United States Army Europe (USAEUR), and a number of other high-ranking officials from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
We are doing this to exercise our ability to reinforce NATO, and to establish collective defence for the Alliance
"Defender 20 is an exercise that we have planned with our allies, to practice and to rehearse the deployment of large numbers of American soldiers with equipment to link up with our Allies, in this case 18 different Allied Nations in Europe, and then to proceed to exercises throughout the continent," said Commander U.S. Army Europe, Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, in Bremerhaven today.
"We are doing this to exercise our ability to reinforce NATO, and to establish collective defence for the Alliance," he added. "This is a defensive exercise that requires whole of government participation from all of our allies," he then said, underlining the importance of NATO's continued ability to work closely together and exercise interoperability and readiness.
For the safe and smooth movement of troops and equipment from various ports in Europe, such as Bremerhaven in Germany, towards the exercise areas in eastern European countries, such as Poland and the Baltic states, solid logistical planning is critical. This includes the safe and organised withdrawal of troops and equipment after the exercises are completed. Involved troops and units, while still in Bremerhaven, have planned to rehearse this withdrawal, as well as preparing for onwards transport to the different exercises in Europe.
Upon arrival in Bremerhaven, German Lieutenant General Martin Shelleis, Chief of the German Joint Support and Enabling Services, explained the essential role of the European Allies in this major exercise.
"It is important that we make sure that the Allied reinforcements through Germany will be supported seamlessly," he said, underlining the importance of safe and quick troop movements throughout the European continent as part of any military activity and training.
Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 is the largest deployment of U.S.-based troops to Europe in more than 25 years. It shows that the U.S. commitment to NATO and the defence of Europe remains ironclad. With participation of 18 NATO Allies and a number of partner nations, this U.S.-led multinational exercise will make an important contribution to the readiness of NATO forces to operate together and to respond to any threat from any direction. The exercise, including the re-deployment, will last until July this year.