Senator Marsha Blackburn returned on Sunday from visiting soldiers in the Tennessee Army National Guard serving in Poland and Ukraine.
She said, "This weekend, I had the distinct honor of visiting our men and women of the Tennessee Army National Guard serving overseas in Poland and Ukraine before they return home from a nine-month deployment.
Too often, non-combat deployments can be overlooked and I wanted to let these brave Americans know their missions are critical to the national security of the United States. The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) headquartered in Knoxville is one of just two heavy ACRs still in existence. The motto of the 278th is "I Volunteer, Sir" - a spirit that I saw embodied in each soldier I met with throughout the weekend.
"I was also impressed with the improvement the soldiers made to their facilities. One of the unique strengths of the Guard is the soldiers' wide variety of civilian professions. In Ukraine, carpentry skills were put to use to construct an outdoor activity area and to enhance the dining facilities. The 101st Airborne will take over this mission later this year, and I know that they will be grateful for these improvements.
"In both sites, I sat down in the chow hall for lunch with our soldiers. There we discussed issues affecting their everyday lives - including retirement age, benefits and pay, and the increasingly high tempo of National Guard operational deployment. I will bring back the knowledge I gained from these conversations to my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, to ensure that we address these issues head on.
"I want to thank all of the men and women who welcomed me to Poland and Ukraine this weekend. I hope that I brought a small taste of Tennessee to our soldiers, and look forward to welcoming them back home later this year."
Read more about the Senator’s trip here.