Washington National Guardsmen prepare to deploy to Poland

By Joseph Siemandel, Washington National Guard on January 20, 2022

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Just as the Washington National Guard welcomed home nearly 100 members of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team after a nine-month deployment to Ukraine, 100 members of the 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment and 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion left for Fort Bliss, Texas, to prepare for nine months in Poland.

The Guard members will join with the 1st Battalion, 185th Infantry Regiment from the California National Guard, replacing the 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, another Washington National Guard unit in support of the NATO-enhanced Forward Presence mission.

"I am so proud of you guys and what you have accomplished to get to this point," said Lt. Col. Matt Braddock, commander of 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment. "I know you guys will represent Washington and the United States with respect and honor in Poland."

The mission enhances a forward presence in eastern Europe, with four multinational battalion-size battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The combat-ready forces demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic bond, making clear that an attack on one ally would be considered an attack on the entire alliance.

The 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, has conducted multiple warfighter exercises with multinational partners to build joint interoperability between nations.

"This is going to make us a much better NATO force but also build the seeds for further training opportunities and experiences," said Lt. Col. Craig Broyles, commander of 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry, during a training exercise in December.

More than 1,100 Washington National Guard members are deployed overseas in support of operations around the globe.