FORT RILEY (KSNT) – Many soldiers from Fort Riley in Kansas have been deployed in Europe for almost a year, and thanks to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, they will be there “as long as they are needed.”

An M1A2 Abrams Tank from Fort Riley’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division operates during a night gunnery exercise at Konotop Range, Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, Jan. 28, 2022. (Courtesy Photo/Eliezer Meléndez, U.S. Army)

To help Fort Riley families get answers on what’s going on with their loved ones, Fort Riley held a town hall with Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, a top-ranking solider in the U.S. Army. Joined by key leaders from Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division, he answered questions from family members of soldiers that were sent to Europe, according to a spokesperson for the military post.

“They wanted to know when their spouses are coming home,” Grinston said. “That’s the one that really sticks with me the most, is it’s not about the pay the income, it’s ‘we love our soldier and we just want him to be safe and come back home.’” 

Around 3,800 soldiers from Fort Riley’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have been deployed in Europe since July 2021. The post announced it was also sending an additional 300 troops on March 9. The group, accounting for almost half of the 7,000 troops participating, moved to the continent as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which the U.S. Army Europe and Africa said is intended to “enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support [The North Atlantic Treaty Organization].”

As part of the operation, soldiers, including those from Fort Riley, maintain a presence in countries including Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia. Fort Riley members in particular staff Atlantic Resolve’s headquarters located in Poznań, Poland. The soldiers manning the HQ are around just six hours from the Ukrainian border.

KSNT News has previously asked officials involved with Operation Atlantic Resolve if troops from Fort Riley could end up becoming involved in defending Ukraine or Poland from a deepening Russian invasion.

“We cannot speculate on future decisions by senior leaders nor how the current crisis will proceed,” said Major Scott Kuhn, Media Division Chief for U.S. Army Europe & Africa. “What we can say is that our forces including those permanently stationed in Europe, those here on rotation for Atlantic Resolve and those deployed to assure our NATO allies are highly trained [are] always ready for whatever mission they may be assigned.”

For a deep dive into the geopolitical situation that led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, watch KSNT’s special “War In Ukraine: How Did We Get Here?” below: