Chief of the Romanian Land Forces Staff (SMFT), Lieutenant General Iulian Berdila declared, on Wednesday, that in the Romanian region there is a „both qualitative and quantitative” increase in NATO’s deterrence and defense posture, and he referred to the possible increase in the number of American soldiers stationed on the territory of our country, write Agerpres.
Berdila held a press conference together with the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General Joseph McGee, and the commander of the 10th Mountain Division, Major General Gregory Anderson, on the occasion of the transfer of authority ceremony between the two US divisions at the Heroes of the Homeland Monument in front of the „Carol I” National Defense University.
„For us, the Romanian Land Forces, it is an element of continuity to have the soldiers of the United States Land Forces by our side,” said Berdila.
He emphasized that the presence of the 101st Airborne Division meant for the Romanian troops „an element of growth not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively”.
„All the activities that we have organized with the 101st Division Command have meant a boost in responsibility and assumption of missions in the region”, the head of the SMFT showed.
„Of course we all want an increase in the number of soldiers, but especially in the spectrum of capabilities that we are trying to integrate on the territory of Romania and together with the other allies, in such a way that we have the certainty for a motto that we proposed: ‘Let’s train to deter and be ready to defend,” added Berdila.
According to him, the arrival of the 10th Mountain Division Command continues „such an assumption of increasing the quality of interoperability and missions”.
„I am convinced that the American partner can analyze an increase in the region that we all want and in the field of the complexity of the deployment capabilities,” added Berdila.
In his turn, Gregory Anderson appreciated that „Romania is a model ally”.
During the transfer ceremony, he paid tribute to the Romanian soldiers who died in missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. We thank them and their families. We will not forget their sacrifices, he said.
The commander showed that the 10th Mountain Division is aware of conflict situations. We have been deployed many times, all over the world. We are trained, we are experienced and we are determined, said Anderson.
He recalled that the Division first came to Europe in the Second World War, to fight in the mountains of northern Italy. It was also deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo.
Currently, the 10th Mountain Division is prepared to work closely with the armies of Southeast Europe, in the Black Sea region and in the North, in Finland and Sweden, to enhance our joint capabilities, to fight and win when we are call for us to do so, Anderson said.
For his part, the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General Joseph McGee, declared that he found „exceptional hosts” in Romania.
We had to teach the people, we had to learn the territory, the military techniques of our ally. It was not difficult, but it was a challenge to increase the ability to operate here in South-Eastern Europe. We had a tremendous payoff. I’m not just talking about the friendships that I, personally, have established, but also about the youngest soldiers who go to the United States of America with a sense of appreciation for this part of Europe and for the people here, due to the connections they created in the nine months we were here, he said.
During the transfer ceremony, the Flag of the 101st Airborne Division was decorated with the National Order „Faithful Service” in the rank of Knight with the sign of peace.
Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division began deployment to the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base at the beginning of March, simultaneously with the redeployment of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to the USA. Division 10 is staying in Romania for nine months.