Journey begins for Marine Corps armor bound for Eastern Europe

24 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Justin Updegraff The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

U.S. Marines load tanks, artillery and light-armored reconnaissance vehicles onto rail cars for the final voyage of the new armor element to Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. 

The movement of the equipment showcases the Marine Corps’ ability to move heavy equipment across the region cohesively with allies and international partners to support operations during a crisis.

“It’s important to move gear like this,” said Capt. Michael Shuda, logistics officer with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa. “It improves communication between our NATO allies and improves readiness of the Marine Corps.”

Lieutenant Col. John Sattely, director of logistics for MARFOREUR/AF, said that during this movement and coordination of the Combined Arms Company equipment, the various agencies involved will gain a habitual relationship rather than learning about one another after a crisis happens. 

Once in Bulgaria, the Marines will train alongside allies’ and partners’ mechanized units, collectively improving combined arms skills and anti-armor tactics. The Combined Arms Company is comprised of more than 160 Marines who are a part of the Black Sea Rotational Force, but whom will accompany the armor element at the Novo Selo Training Area. 

“The Combined Arms Company is a new unit and the foundation hasn’t been laid yet. We are here to show what the Marine Corps is capable of,” said Sgt. Joey Donado, a tank crewman with the company. “This includes equipment integration and infantry integration with tanks, artillery and light armored vehicles.”

The Black Sea Rotational Force is a semi-annual rotation of Marines and Sailors able to respond to a broad range of military operations in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. The headquarters for BSRF is based at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania.