About 150 soldiers will deploy in mid-April, according to a Friday release from the 101st Airborne, and they are expected to be gone for nine months. They will replace the Tennessee National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has been in Ukraine since last summer.
Soldiers from each of the brigade’s seven battalions will form Task Force Carentan. They are scheduled to case their colors April 12 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Their mission will be to advise and assist Ukrainian armed forces in developing the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in the western part of the country.
The mission is part of efforts to build up Ukraine’s defense and training capabilities though an initiative called the Joint Multinational Training Group - Ukraine, the release said.
Task Force Carentan will help develop cadre, ranges and training areas. By training the trainers, they will move toward a goal of Ukraine’s forces taking full responsibility for training at the center next year.
“The majority of deploying Soldiers are leaders who have years of experience overseeing and conducting tough, realistic training,” Lt. Col. Robert Tracy, commander of 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment and senior commander for the task force, said in the release. “I expect this to be a great opportunity to share lessons learned from our own combat training centers as well as gain valuable insights from the UAF that will make the Strike brigade a more ready force.”
The 2nd BCT soldiers deploying “will be not be actively involved in operations in Ukraine’s conflict area,” according to the release, and instead their mission will be “strictly for training and advising purposes” at the request of the Ukrainian government.
The task force will be named in honor of the battle at Carentan, France. Soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment liberated the town following the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, 75 years ago.
“This mission plays an important role in contributing to the security of Europe as a whole," Col. Joseph E. Escandon, commander of 2nd BCT, said in the release. "The Soldiers of Task Force Carentan stand ready to share their extensive knowledge and training experience, and we look forward to growing this strategic partnership with the UAF as we learn from their perspective and expertise.”
Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.