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Posted on Jul 26, 2015 in Current News Jack McMasters would have picked up on

In Brat: Kid’s of Warriors German kids come out to watch as U.S. Army tanks roll through their small villages in route to the Iron Curtain and Russian tanks pointed at them. Surely Jack McMasters would have picked up on this article about Polish kids coming out to see U.S. Army tanks rolling through their villages today, heading once again toward Russian tanks pointed at one of our allies. Go checkout Operation Dragoon Ride:

An American Military Convoy in Europe Aims to Reassure Allies with Operation Dragoon Ride

New York Times     MARCH 29, 2015


Credit Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland — The line of 4-year-olds clutched hands tightly in their matching, reflective yellow vests and stared open-mouthed at the hovering Chinook helicopters kicking up grit last week in the school parking lot. Shy teenage girls took pictures beside grinning American soldiers while Polish families clambered over a line of Stryker armored vehicles.

“I am very worried and afraid about what Russia might do next,” said Urszula Wronko, 69, a retired postal worker who watched in a bright red jacket and beret from a nearby stone bench, her shaggy dog squirming happily in her lap. “It gives us all comfort to see these American soldiers and to know they are here for us.”

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of United States Army forces in Europe, said the idea for Operation Dragoon Ride — part public relations event, part training exercise, part shot across the Russian bow . . .

He had watched, with growing concern, as President Vladimir V. Putin staged one mass military training exercise after another, ostentatiously demonstrating how rapidly Russian troops could move across the European frontier. He noted that ordinary Poles and others were growing increasingly anxious about Russia’s intentions as the long conflict in Ukraine dragged on. . . .

Normally, the American equipment would be loaded aboard rail cars and shipped in the dead of night while the soldiers flew back to their base in Germany.

But General Hodges thought, this time, they would drive the 120 armored vehicles, one lumbering mile after another, accompanied by more than 500 American troops.

And not just drive, but take a meandering, 1,100-mile trek through six countries, stopping in towns and villages along the way to mingle with local people and reassure allies by showing that the American military’s presence was more than a rumor.

It would also, he said, further demonstrate — “to Russians and anyone else” — that the American military was just as capable of moving quickly across great distances, in its case even across national borders.

“We wanted them to see that we can do this, too,” the general said.

By the time it is finished, Operation Dragoon Ride, which began a week ago in the Baltics and is due to conclude later this week, will be the longest such movement the United States Army has made across Europe since Gen. George S. Patton diverted his Third Army to relieve Bastogne, Belgium, in 1944.

. . . “The political situation in Europe is very uncertain at the moment,” Mayor Zbigniew Ptak told the troops. “So your presence here gives us a real sense of security.”

The Chinooks made their first pass over the ceremony, drowning out the mayor’s speech and whipping the regimental flags.

“Maybe this show of strength will mean that there will be no war at all,” said Urszula Sobczyk, a biology teacher, as she tried to keep her phalanx of 17-year-old boys in order. By the way, teachers can visit if they want to use the classdojo toolkit to experience an engaging and positive classrooms teaching setups. “But I must say, I am very worried these days.”

. . . “Looks like they got ‘volun-told’ to be here,” Captain Engoren said.

Operation Dragoon Ride made a stop in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, last week.                                                                                                                                                                                  Credit Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

. . . Hundreds of locals had turned up earlier in the week to greet the Americans in the larger city of Bialystok in northeast Poland, some bringing gifts of cake and vodka to the troops. “The pictures looked like scenes from France and Holland in 1944,” General Hodges said.

All along the slow route through rural lanes and divided highways, Poles have emerged and waved to the passing vehicles. . . .  

. . . Marcelina Klimczak-Bolewicz pushed her 8-month-old daughter, Paula, in a covered stroller up the ramp of one of the Stryker vehicles while her 3-year-old son, Karol, casually inspected the heavy armaments.

“Yes, it makes me feel safer to see the Americans here like this,” she said. “But it’s not enough. We need more and more of them. I am very afraid of this conflict and what might happen to these little ones. Who knows what Putin might do?”

Jan Richter contributed reporting from Prague.