FILE PHOTO – Billie Jean Rodriguez hugs her husband April 12, 2017. More than 800 soldiers with the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade returned to Fort Riley after deployment in Afghanistan. (Staff photo by Brady Bauman)

More than 3,000 soldiers with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are set to return to  Fort Riley following a nine-month deployment to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve, according to the army post.

The “Dagger” brigade deployed to Europe in September 2017 as the second iteration of heel-to-toe rotations of U.S. armored brigades in Europe, designed to provide a continuous U.S. armored presence for the foreseeable future. While deployed, 2nd ABCT trained closely with NATO allies to build interoperability between their forces and strengthen their collective defensive capabilities to deter aggression in the region.

During the deployment, the brigade sustained a high level of readiness by conducting more than 58 combined training events across eight countries, involving more than 140 movements by rail and line haul. The training events included squad-based live-fire exercises, crew gunnery qualification tables for all their major weapon systems, joint direct and indirect live-fire exercises with NATO allies, utilizing land and air assets and multiple multinational force-on-force exercises.

One of the special highlights from the deployment are the three deployment readiness exercises the brigade conducted, where units moved company-size elements from Poland and Germany into the Baltic region on a 48 hour notice. The Army said it sent a powerful message that they could rapidly respond to crises anywhere, at any time if called upon. The Dagger brigade dedicated significant time and resources demonstrating the capabilities on an armored brigade combat team, expending nearly two million rounds of small arms ammunition, more than 4,800 tank rounds and more than 1,800 artillery rounds while sustaining its readiness to meet any threat.

The brigade also sustained an impressive and robust logistical network and line of operations, the Army added, performing more than 550 logistical missions and traveling over 100,000 miles to support the presence and operations of units spread over several countries in central Europe, including Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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