PANZER KASERNE, Germany –
On August 9, 2019, four Soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) returned to Utah following a six-month tour to Panzer Kaserne, Germany in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve and the European Deterrence Initiative.
These Soldiers were attached to HHD, 5/19th SFG(A) (FWD) from the Colorado National Guard in support of Task Force 10, the forward deployed element of 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) focused on Eastern Europe. The mission of the Task Force was to provide deterrence of Russian aggression throughout the eastern European theater where Russian influence has sparked tensions. These Soldiers each played a role in continuing the efforts to decrease the likelihood of armed conflict in Europe.
“This was a tour unlike anything I’ve ever done in that we weren’t directly involved in combat, but we knew the importance of our mission and never became complacent,” said 1st Lt. Adrian Fagan the Logistics Officer in the J4.
Fagan spent the majority of his tour managing operational funding and overseeing procurement of equipment that would be delivered months after his return to the states. MSG Caleb Cooper and his brother SSG Chad Cooper functioned as the subject matter experts in Counterintelligence, working directly with Special Operations Command Europe. One of their additional tasks was to create information sharing and knowledge management for the J2. Their efforts resulted in a drastic increase in the ability to communicate across services and with components in various countries.
“It wasn’t a high-tempo mission. Just slow-moving pieces in a long game,” said SPC Landin Harris, an Intelligence Analyst, who deployed for his first time and stood out as an outstanding member of the diverse team who worked in the J2.
Another Soldier from Utah remained in Germany for an additional month, returning on August 24. 1LT Jonathan Flick provided current operation status as the J33 and assisted in operationalizing a Joint Operations Center for the Task Force. In addition to their duties with Task Force 10, Soldiers who were airborne qualified were able to conduct a foreign exchange jump with the German Army. This resulted in strengthening the partnership between the Colorado National Guard and the German Parachute Regiment and earned the Soldiers their German Parachute wings. The support these Soldiers provided couldn’t come at a better time, as tensions have been building in across Europe with Russia. They stood out as professionals and kept the tradition of Utah National Guardsmen being recognized as experts in their field.