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Tennessee Guard’s 278th Completes NATO Mission in Poland

Friday, January 24, 2020 | 12:55pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Approximately 110 Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Knoxville, returned to Smyrna’s Volunteer Training Site on Thursday, January 23, following a nine-month long deployment as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland.

"This is the last group of Soldiers returning from Poland concluding a two year commitment of Tennessee Soldiers providing a forward presence along the frontier of freedom," said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee's Adjutant General. "We are incredibly proud of the work these Soldiers did and the sacrifices made by their families in support of our national security.

On January 20, the leadership for the 278th, which commanded the Battle Group, officially transferred responsibility for the mission to the Army’s 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, during a ceremony in Poland. The ceremony completed the 278th’s year-and-a-half long role leading the Battle Group. 

The Guardsmen deployed in March 2019 as part of the regiment’s second Task Force to serve in Poland in support of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission. They supported the 278th’s 3rd Squadron, part of the Pennsylvania National Guard, headquartered in Danville. The first Task Force was comprised of the 278th’s 2nd Squadron headquartered in Cookeville. They were deployed from July 2018 to May 2019.

The eFP provides a robust multinational presence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland. It is comprised of multinational forces provided by Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States as well as other contributing Allies on a voluntary, sustainable, and rotational basis. Each task force consisted of over 850 Soldiers from armories across the state. They formed battalion sized battle groups with additional personnel supplied by multinational Allies during their nine month rotations.

The 278th is the largest unit in Tennessee and one of only five armored brigade combat teams in the National Guard. Through the Army’s force planning process, they were identified as the unit best suited to contribute to the eFP battle group in Poland.

Tennessee Soldier greets his children on airport runway

Members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment reunite with families, Jan. 23, at Volunteer Training Site – Smyrna, following a 9-month deployment to Poland. This final wave of Soldiers represents the regiment’s completion of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission after 18 months by two separate squadrons.  The 278th ACR is Tennessee’s largest unit and one of only five armored brigade combat teams in the National Guard. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordeiro)

Soldier coming off of a plane on airport runway

Members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment arrive at Volunteer Training Site – Smyrna, Jan. 23, following a 9-month deployment to Poland. The 278th ACR, Tennessee’s largest unit, and one of only five armored brigade combat teams in the entire National Guard, has supported NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission with two separate squadrons for the last 18 months. This is the final wave of 278th ACR Soldiers returning from this deployment. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordeiro)

Family members of Soldiers waiting for loved ones to exit plane

Families await the arrival of members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Volunteer Training Site – Smyrna, Jan. 23, following the Soldiers’ 9-month deployment to Poland. This final wave of Soldiers represents the regiment’s completion of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission after 18 months by two separate squadrons.  The 278th ACR is Tennessee’s largest unit and one of only five armored brigade combat teams in the National Guard. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Cordeiro)