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jesse 2010/06/24 00:18:59
Soldiers make history: Baumholder servicemembers march in Russia's Victory parade
May 12, 2010




HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Soldiers of Baumholder's 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team marched into history during Russia's 65th Victory Day parade in Moscow, May 9.

U.S. Army Europe historians said the event marks the first time a serving, active-duty U.S. Army unit, carrying the American flag and representing the United States, marched in the parade.

The 75 Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, joined military units from Russia, Great Britain, France, Poland and member nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the historic march through Moscow's Red Square.

A 45-piece band from U.S. Naval Forces Europe also took part in Victory Day commemorative events.

The parade, which commemorates the 65th anniversary of the Allies' victory over the Axis powers during World War II, was called the largest since 1945.

More than 150 armored vehicles - including historic Soviet T-34 tanks - were part of the event. The Russian air force flew over Moscow with more than 127 combat aircraft.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Russia's Minister of Defense, Anatoly Serdyukov, invited the United States military to take part in the parade.

"The participation of military units of the states of the anti-Hitler coalition in this event in Moscow will testify to the readiness to develop the relations between armed forces of our countries," Serdyukov wrote. He said the event is a symbol of a new partnership ready to take on new challenges and confront new threats, particularly the fight against international terrorism.

"We've got a good company and we're ready to go to Russia," said Capt. Matthew Strand, Company C commander, before the event. "We're very excited. We have been working a lot during our gunnery during the last 30 days and we're ready to go to Moscow."

Strand, whose hometown is Roslyn, S.D., said the company found time for drill and ceremony training during its gunnery and unit training at Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels in April. The company practiced marching and helped Soldiers obtain and tailor the Army dress blue uniforms the 75 troops wore in the parade.

Strand said he hopes his Soldiers understand that they are part of a larger mission and that they are joining a formation of allied Soldiers to share in the victory in World War II and honor the sacrifices of all Soldiers and civilians during the conflict.

The company's executive officer, 1st Lt. Ilya Ivanov, said the parade is a return to "familiar stomping grounds."

Ivanov emigrated with his family from Vladivostok, on Russia's far eastern coast between China and Japan, in 1996. He now calls Kima, Texas, his hometown. His grandfather, Maj. Alexander Peteryaev, a platoon leader in the Soviet Red Army, was killed in action near Smolensk in 1943.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear this American uniform in Red Square and be a part of an event that commemorates and remembers the sacrifices of the Allies as we fought against the Nazi tyranny," he said.

Spc. Robert Ervin, an infantryman from Clarksville, Tenn., said his wife was concerned when he told her about the mission.

"She did not understand that Russia invited us," he said. "A lot of people are still in the dark about the relationship between our two countries. This is an experience that will bring us closer together.

"She feels all right about it now," he added. "She's excited to see her husband be part of this."

The infantryman said he planned to talk about music, food and free time activities with his Russian army counterparts.

Along with his uniforms, Ervin said he carried eight 1st Armored Division uniform patches, about a dozen 170th Infantry Brigade unit patches and an assortment of rank insignia that he was hoping to trade for the Russian versions.

"I will remember my first step into Red Square and knowing that I am one of the first of 75 Americans taking that first step," he said. "This is the first time that Americans get to step on Russian soil for a Victory Day parade. This event may help us bond together with better understanding between our two peoples."

And to facilitate that bonding, Ervin said, he had trained himself beyond drill and ceremony practice.

"I am trying to learn basic greetings so I can prove myself a good guest," he said.

Ivanov said he has also been teaching his Soldiers about the country's history and sacrifice during World War II, known as the Great Patriotic War by Russians.

"They understand the magnitude and they see it from the Russian perspective better than they did a few weeks ago," Ivanov said.

Between rehearsals, the Company C Soldiers got a look at Russian culture during visits to important sites such as Moscow's art galleries, the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, a circus and Lenin's tomb, he said.

"I hope they see a different side of Russia than they may have heard about from the scary stories from the Cold War era," Ivanov said. "The Russian people are open to friendship. They will see them as people and not as history told them they are."


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Top Opinion

  • chaoskitty123 2010/06/24 01:38:35
    chaoskitty123
    +6
    The Russians are a more open country and their leaders have been trying to warn us our own current leadership is more like the old Soviet Union. They even shared information with us how they have sealed off oil well accidents like the one in the Gulf using small nukes with 100% success and little fallout which compared to the damage we'll see in the new Dead Black Sea formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico would be a godsend.

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  • akgold 2010/06/28 04:40:40
    akgold
    The 75 members of Company C are very lucky for this opportunity.
  • ruralntex 2010/06/26 01:32:07
    ruralntex
    We have lots in common with the Russian people. Way more than we have differences. This kind of thing puts a face on the American military, and I am glad to see the participation. I'd like to see an invite to a similar event extended to the Russian military by our government.
  • gary 2010/06/25 05:09:41
    gary
    +1
    A commemoration of the end of facsism in Gemany. I only hope we can celebrate when our FASCIST / BOLSHEVICK PIECE OF AMOEBA SCAT IS DEPOSED AND HIS DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES ARE REVERSED. celebrate fascist bolshevick piece amoeba scat deposed destructive policies reversed
  • Helo Chick 2010/06/24 20:29:43
    Helo Chick
    +1
    We aren't borrowing money from them too are we?
  • Kronan_1 2010/06/24 16:51:25 (edited)
    Kronan_1
    +1
    I have mixed emotions about this. I'm not sure what to say. So ,I'll think about it.
  • johnnywoo 2010/06/24 16:42:30
    johnnywoo
    This is really good news!!!
  • P-Funk 2010/06/24 15:23:52
    P-Funk
    I'm all for diplomacy and building bridges wherever we can. We were allies with the USSR against Hitler and it doesn't hurt to remind them (and ourselves) that we actually CAN work together for common interests. There's nothing all that wrong with peace, as long as we don't have to sacrifice our freedom to gain it.
  • Dark Knight 2010/06/24 11:47:52
    Dark Knight
    +1
    I see it with mixed emotions.
  • NarcolepticGoat 2010/06/24 10:44:46
    NarcolepticGoat
    cool5
  • Blix 2010/06/24 04:31:23
    Blix
    +1
    President Medvedev supports President Obama 1000%

    Don't speak of things you know nothing about.
  • Lanikai Blix 2010/06/24 17:28:39
    Lanikai
    +2
    They are looking at the future where th earmies are combined, NWO crap is rapidly moving along.
  • Blix Lanikai 2010/06/24 17:41:53
    Blix
    The NWO has been a reality for 50 years+. Do try to catch up.
  • jumpboots 187th PIR 2010/06/24 03:42:09
    jumpboots 187th PIR
    We wear allied with them durring WW-2..I think it was allright.
  • goatman112003 2010/06/24 03:39:49
    goatman112003
    +3
    This fits in with the bust of Stalin being erected in Virginia. It fits in too well.
  • mwg0735 goatman... 2010/06/24 13:33:57
  • goatman... mwg0735 2010/06/24 14:36:32
    goatman112003
    +2
    I would say more of a cross between the two. He uses the stage antics of Hitler with the fear background of Stalin.
  • mwg0735 goatman... 2010/06/24 14:51:52
  • phoenix AFCL 2010/06/24 02:09:32
    phoenix AFCL
    +2
    I don't see anything wrong with it. We didn't really fight 'alongside' the Russians in WWII (they were on the Eastern Front - Europe on the Western Front) amd seems like the Russians celebrated WWII more than BO did here in the States... lol
  • chaoskitty123 2010/06/24 01:38:35
    chaoskitty123
    +6
    The Russians are a more open country and their leaders have been trying to warn us our own current leadership is more like the old Soviet Union. They even shared information with us how they have sealed off oil well accidents like the one in the Gulf using small nukes with 100% success and little fallout which compared to the damage we'll see in the new Dead Black Sea formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico would be a godsend.

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