01.11.16

Gardner Returns from Visit to NATO Allies

Washington – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he has returned from Europe, where he visited North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installations and met with American servicemen and women, including 4th Infantry Division troops deployed out of Fort Carson. From January 7-9, Senator Gardner traveled to facilities in Belgium, Estonia, and Germany, meeting with high ranking military officials and evaluating steps being taken to strengthen the NATO mission and U.S. leadership in Europe.

“In my meetings with European officials, as well as United States diplomats and military leaders, we all agreed on the pressing need for United States leadership,” Gardner said.  “With so many crises facing our nation and our allies, that leadership is more essential than ever.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the NATO alliance received a serious wake-up call. I held discussions on efforts to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank and to reassure our allies that the United States stands firmly behind its NATO commitment, including Article 5 of the NATO Charter regarding collective defense. Our resolve to defend our allies and our values must be unwavering.

“I was also pleased to be able to visit with U.S. soldiers based out of Fort Carson who are serving their country across Europe, far from their families. Soldiers from the Fourth Infantry Division are tasked with the incredible responsibility of countering Russian aggression in Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.”                                                                                                              

In Belgium, Senator Gardner visited NATO headquarters, where he was briefed on U.S. military posture in Europe and the Russian threat. He also met with General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command.

In Estonia, Senator Gardner visited Amari Air Base, a joint NATO and Estonian Air Force facility that is also used by United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, NATO’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Senator Gardner further held discussions with Estonian government officials, including Minister of Defense Hannes Hanso, reiterating U.S. commitment to this important ally and friend of the United States.

In Germany, Senator Gardner was met and briefed by Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, and Brigadier General James Mingus, deputy commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. Senator Gardner concluded by joining 4th Infantry Division troops in the mess hall in Baumholder for dinner.

                                                                              

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.