U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling meets Polish Minister of Defense

Surrounded by a whirl of smoke and the cheers of family, friends and colleagues, a group of Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment returns home to Vilseck, Germany, April 20. (Photo by Andreas Kreuzer).

2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment returns home from yearlong deployment

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
May 27, 2011

HEIDELBERG, Germany —- Soldiers of U.S. Army Europe’s 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, have been returning from their tour of duty in Afghanistan over the past month, following a yearlong deployment in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.

The unit is coming home about three weeks earlier than projected when its Soldiers deployed last year, a 2nd SCR spokesman said.

Unit officials said during its deployment the 2nd SCR, known as the “Dragoon” regiment, served with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force to build stability and bolster the legitimacy of the Afghan government.

“Just one year ago newspapers were writing about various degrees of failure, and this year, because of the hard work of Dragoons, they are talking about opportunity and success,” said Col. James Blackburn, the regimental commander. “I could not be more proud of our formation.”

The Stryker troopers worked alongside Dutch, Romanian and Afghan National Army soldiers, as well as Afghan National Police officers, across a 17,300-square-kilometer province with a population of more than 250,000. Alongside these partner forces, the 2nd SCR Soldiers conducted presence and route clearance patrols and provided logistic support across ISAF’s Regional Command-South area of operations.

The regiment also trained coalition and Afghan security forces in military and logistic operations. Unit officials noted that the Strykers’ efforts led to the establishment of the first ANA route clearance company.

The regiment also worked with the U.S. State Department to train Afghan police forces in criminal investigation and forensic techniques and the Afghan legal system. According to a unit summary of its deployment, this led to a court in Zabul prosecuting its first case involving the use of forensic evidence and the issue of its first search warrant, and resulted in several arrest and prosecution proceedings.