The Dec. 7, 2017, online Wall Street Journal article “General Leaves Legacy of Rebuilt U.S. Army in Europe” by Julian E. Barnes features Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army forces in Europe. The article reviews what Gen. Hodges has done from his base in Wiesbaden, Germany, for the past three years before he retires this month after “overseeing the first buildup of America’s military posture in Europe since the Cold War.”
(Note that a shorter version of this WSJ article appeared in the Dec. 8, 2017, print edition with the headline “Cold Warrior’s Lessons for the Future.”)
The article notes about Gen. Hodges:
The army commander’s mission, he has often said, was to make America’s 30,000 soldiers in Europe look like the 300,000 deployed during the Cold War.
As the spouse of an Army officer stationed in Munich from September 1970 to May 1972 during the Cold War and as a Department of the Army civilian working at that time for an Army counterintelligence unit, I found this information on the current low troop levels distressing. Russian aggression has been building steadily, and it is important that the U.S. does not ignore the renewed threat.
My husband and I knew when we were stationed in Munich that we were on the frontlines of stopping the “Red menace.” Today the 30,000 troops and their families are again on the frontlines and without the strength in numbers that existed during the Cold War.
The Journal article explains:
Gen. Hodges took command in November 2014, a few months after Russia annexed Crimea and as the U.S. and Europe began to recalibrate their security posture following Moscow’s military shift. Since then tensions between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have increased markedly across the region, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the east.
While there are many areas of concern around the globe for the U.S., this creeping encroachment of Russia needs to be contained sooner than later.
The Journal notes:
[Hodges] helped bring additional U.S. tanks to Poland and crafted a procedure for moving those forces around Eastern Europe. He pushed Washington to send more helicopters, rebuilt weapons stocks and reopened closed Cold War storage facilities.
It is to be hoped that what Gen. Hodges has accomplished will be augmented by his replacement, and that the U.S. will increase the 30,000 to a larger deterrent force. Even in the era of cyber war, the U.S. needs boots on the ground.
We must remember that, regardless of whether we would wish it differently, history has a tendency to repeat itself.
Click here to read for free my Cold War memoir OCCUPYING GERMANY: ON THE FRONTLINES OF STOPPING THE RED MENACE.
(I am looking for a book agent and publisher for this Cold War memoir. If you are interested in the project, click here for the formal book proposal.)
And if you have a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, you can read the entire article about Gen. Hodges here.
© 2017 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller