Czechs brave bad weather to welcome US armed forces

Many residents in Nachod, Czech Republic, gathered at the Poland-Czech border to greet a convoy of American soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment as the unit wound up its show-of-support mission in eastern Europe, Sunday, March 29, 2015. MICHAEL S. DARNELL/STARS AND STRIPES

NACHOD, Czech Republic — More than 2,000 people lined the streets of this small border town on Sunday to greet American soldiers as they crossed into the Czech Republic from Poland on their way home from an operation to demonstrate support for eastern allies rattled by Russian aggression in Ukraine.

This border crossing marked the beginning of the final stage of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Dragoon Ride, a show-of-force convoy operation that began nine days ago. Since then, soldiers maneuvered 120 military vehicles across Lithuania, Estonia and Poland as they wound their way back to their home base in Vilseck, Germany.

Though well-received by other host nations, the convoy unleashed fierce debate among the Czech people and politicians. On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Prague, the capital, to demonstrate support for and opposition to the convoy and American foreign policy.

Vehement opposition from some quarters — most prominently members of the Czech Communist Party — raised concern among the Dragoons about the kind of welcome they would receive at the Czech border. On Sunday, those concerns proved to be unfounded, as thousands of Czechs braved rain and wind for several hours to greet the American troops…

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  • Norman_In_New_York

    I would hope that the Czechs welcomed the GIs with steins of Pilsner and a few blondes on the side.

  • Jason

    I think Putin has the measure of Obama and understands Obama’s weakness and lack of will. He also could not have failed to note the general weakening of the US military under Obama. If he was ever inclined to try a little empire-building this might be the time. Just sayin’.

  • simus1

    Hey, those cool wheels started life in GM’s London, ON plant.
    Two dozen trucks in the convoy packed solid with Javelin antitank missiles would have impressed Putin &Co a lot more than almost anything else.

    • winniec

      Indeed. NATO should have entered Ukraine right away in force. Ukraine should have been made a member of NATO immediately. Hesitation leads bullies to think they have a chance to go further!

      • Billy Bob Thornton

        What I find fascinating is how Canada, the US and Ukraine all didn’t condemn Nazism and were blacklisted by that resolution. It proves that Russophobia is guiding those nations rather than diplomacy and coming to a reasonable resolution. It also shows that Canada is tied to the hip to the US and is desperate for a world war. This isn’t a game.

      • simus1

        Unfortunately Ukraine has wasted its time since independence in a logjam of political infighting and bureaucratic old Soviet style command economy corruption and distortion. If there are no strong leaders prepared to knock heads together and force economic reforms needed to create strong incentives for private enterprise to successfully grow and prosper, everything else matters little.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    Hasn’t the US ruined Europe by their coup? Even Merkel and Hollande are adamant to ensure that they don’t have a third world war in their backyard, and that is why the Minsk agreement was put on the table. That is also evident by Germany wanting discussion after discussion. Right now, it is also evident that the Ukrainian nation is for all indents and purposes an IMF controlled state since the Ukrainians are in perpetual austerity and quite frankly inevitable bankruptcy as a result of the coup last year. There is no disputing all of this and the US dollar status is the reason for the US aggression. The US sure is two-faced in more ways than one.

    • Billy Bob Thornton

      The pro-West oligarchs sure did a number and sure did destroy Ukraine. At least Yanukovych was balanced and understood wealth. The new puppets are just bankrupting Ukraine.

      • Hugh Bin-Haad

        Agree. I mean how sane are you if you just don’t roll over and surrender to Putin and his policies? Remember – the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

        I’m off to join Nashi.

    • Minicapt

      … one who know all that ain’t so …