4,000 US Army troops deployed in Europe have tour of duty extended
More than 4,000 US Army troops who were deployed to Europe on a temporary basis will now have their tour of duty extended -- likely for several weeks -- as part of the US effort to reassure eastern European allies during the current crisis in Ukraine.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat team of the 1st Infantry Division had been scheduled to return to the US next month after a nine-month tour in Europe. But the team will now stay and continue training and deterrence missions with nations that could include Poland, Romania and the Baltics.
"I don't want to speculate on a timeline, but be assured it will only be for as long as they are needed," John Tomassi, a spokesman for the Army in Europe, told CNN in an email.
In addition to the brigade, there are additional support troops that will be extended. For several years, the army has regularly rotated combat brigades, along with the armored vehicles in and out of Europe, to help maintain a US military presence.
"The deployment of ready, combat-credible US forces to Europe in support US Army Europe and Africa is evidence of the strong and unremitting US commitment to NATO and Europe," Tomassi said in a statement confirming the details.
"As we continually assess changes in the strategic and operational environment, select units have been extended to provide the forces needed to augment our NATO allies and partners. The units that have been extended provide unique skills and reinforce our role of supporting our NATO allies and partners capable, ready and resilient forces. While we understand the toll this extension takes on not only our soldiers, but also their families, we as a nation must remain committed to the security of Europe. Our presence reinforces our ironclad commitment to NATO, assures our allies and deters future aggression."