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Feb 7 2023

NATO eFP Battlegroups in Poland and Lithuania rotate troops as part of deterrence and defence mission

SZCZECIN, Poland - During a Hand Over, Take Over (HOTO) ceremony in Bemowo Piskie, PolandNATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Poland welcomed the U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment (1-9 CAV) as they replaced the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment (3-8 CAV) at the helm of the Battlegroup command. Simultaneously, NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania has started to rotate troops and equipment ahead of their HOTO ceremony.

Held on February 2, the event celebrated the accomplishments of the outgoing 3-8 CAV ("Warhorse") while preparing for the incoming 1-9 CAV ("Headhunters").  It culminated with the former commander of the Battlegroup, Lieutenant Colonel Sean M. Castilla handing over the unit's colors to his successor, Lieutenant Colonel James Ray. Since 2017, the U.S. has been providing soldiers in Poland to reinforce the framework of nations for eFP. Their mission is to train together with the Allies to fortify NATO's ability to deter and defend against any potential threat in the region. The U.S.-led Battlegroup includes the Romanian Sky Guardians, the U.K. Royal Lancers, Prince of Wales Troop, and the 11th Croatian contingent, Panzer Battery, all of whom operate in concert with Poland’s own 15th Mechanized Brigade, headquartered in Giżycko, northeastern Poland. 

Over the next months, 1-9 CAV will train closely with NATO Allies to build common purpose, shared understanding and kinship with their brothers and sisters in arms / Photos by PV2 (OR-2) Monika Woroniecka, 15th Mechanized Brigade (POL)

NATO eFP Battlegroups have been deploying in rotations to Poland and the Baltic States every six months. For participating formations, this rotation process is primarily a logistical challenge. Personnel and materiel have to be relocated from their home countries to their respective areas of operations and brought together on site in accordance with a coordinated schedule. Currently, the German-led Battlegroup is finalizing the transfer of the 13th rotation’s units and equipment to Lithuania. The German 401st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (Panzergrenadierbataillon 401) shall relieve the 203rd Armoured Battalion (Panzerbataillon 203) as the Battlegroup command. Aside from the German Army, the Battlegroup is comprised of the Allies from Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.

Video by the German Army

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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