BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland — U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Gronski, the U.S. Army Europe, deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard, visited Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, assigned to Battle Group Poland (BGPOL) at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, Oct. 30.
During Gronski's visit to BGPOL, he met with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Donny Hebel, Battle Group Poland's commander and U.S. Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Haynes, Battle Group Poland's senior enlisted officer, to discuss combat readiness, assess the quality of life for Soldiers assigned here, and to inspect the updated motor pool maintenance tents.
In addition to discussing business, Gronski also took the time to meet with Soldiers in their areas of operation, and even award a few of them challenge coins as recognition for achievement.
"I hope you realize how important it is that you are here on this mission," said Gronski to a squad of dismount infantry Soldiers. "This is a critical mission for our national security, and your sacrifice makes that possible."
The 278this the largest major command (MACOM) in Tennessee, and one of only five armored brigade combat teams in the National Guard.
"The National Guard have very specific advantages when units conduct deployments overseas," said Gronski about the Soldiers he met with during his visit. "National Guardsmen bring a lot of civilian skills to every mission. I spoke with many Soldiers today, and asked them what their jobs are; they told me answers from project managers, plumbers, masons, school teachers. They have all of these civilian skills along with their military skills that only enhance a mission. Sometimes Soldiers are called to do tasks outside of their military profession and these Soldiers are able to answer that call from their own expertise."
BGPOL is a unique, multinational coalition of U.S., U.K., Croatian and Romanian Soldiers who serve with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a deterrent in support of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence. 2nd Squadron, 278th ACR is the first National Guard unit deployed as part of the coalition to support BGPOL.
"The skills our National Guardsmen possess enhance every mission they are assigned to," said Gronski. "That's not to say we are better than our active-duty counterparts, but these Soldiers bring special skills and assets you just can't find anywhere else. That's why we are here."