At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
KYIV, Ukraine – In a historic moment for Ukraine and the U.S., Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team became the first ever U.S. Army Soldiers to march alongside Ukrainian troops during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence.

The 45th IBCT Soldiers are currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 1 of 7: Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence. The 45th IBCT Soldiers are currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
Ukrainian children release doves at the conclusion of a celebration on Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24. The town held the ceremony to celebrate Ukraine's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and to honor the region’s history, people, military and honored dead through a series of speeches, musical performances, dances, and prayers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 2 of 7: Ukrainian children release doves at the conclusion of a celebration on Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24. The town held the ceremony to celebrate Ukraine's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and to honor the region’s history, people, military and honored dead through a series of speeches, musical performances, dances, and prayers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
Lt. Col. Bruce Lambeth, the commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, waits to speak at a celebration for Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.  The 45th is deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building professionalism within the Ukrainian army. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 3 of 7: Lt. Col. Bruce Lambeth, the commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, waits to speak at a celebration for Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24. The 45th is deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building professionalism within the Ukrainian army. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
A Ukrainian soldier salutes his country's flag during a Ukrainian Independence Day celebration in Yavoriv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24. (Photo by Spc. Samuel Mason, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 4 of 7: A Ukrainian soldier salutes his country's flag during a Ukrainian Independence Day celebration in Yavoriv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24. (Photo by Spc. Samuel Mason, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence.

The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 5 of 7: Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence. The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team salute as Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko passes their formation during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.

The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 6 of 7: Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team salute as Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko passes their formation during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24. The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team) Download full-resolution version
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch speak to the commander of the U.S Army's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Col. David Jordan in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24, 2017. 

45th IBCT Soldiers were the first ever U.S. troops to participate in the Ukrainian celebration.The 45th is deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian army. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)
7 photos: At Home and Abroad: Community-centered, Globally-engaged
Photo 7 of 7: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch speak to the commander of the U.S Army's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Col. David Jordan in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24, 2017. 45th IBCT Soldiers were the first ever U.S. troops to participate in the Ukrainian celebration.The 45th is deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian army. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr) Download full-resolution version
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence.

The 45th IBCT Soldiers are currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
Ukrainian children release doves at the conclusion of a celebration on Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24. The town held the ceremony to celebrate Ukraine's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and to honor the region’s history, people, military and honored dead through a series of speeches, musical performances, dances, and prayers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
Lt. Col. Bruce Lambeth, the commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, waits to speak at a celebration for Ukraine’s 26th Independence Day in Yavoriv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.  The 45th is deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building professionalism within the Ukrainian army. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
A Ukrainian soldier salutes his country's flag during a Ukrainian Independence Day celebration in Yavoriv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24. (Photo by Spc. Samuel Mason, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team march alongside Ukrainian troops and other NATO allies and partners during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24, to celebrate Ukrainian independence.

The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team salute as Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko passes their formation during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.

The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian Army. The U.S. will continue to train and advise Ukrainian forces until 2020. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch speak to the commander of the U.S Army's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Col. David Jordan in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Aug. 24, 2017. 

45th IBCT Soldiers were the first ever U.S. troops to participate in the Ukrainian celebration.The 45th is deployed to Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity of the Ukrainian army. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)

KYIV, Ukraine – In a historic moment for Ukraine and the U.S., Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team became the first ever U.S. Army Soldiers to march alongside Ukrainian troops during a parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 24.

The parade was in celebration of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Nine other NATO allied and partner countries, along with the 29 U.S. Soldiers, marched in the parade. In addition, the U.S. Air Forces Europe Band conducted an evening performance to observe the holiday. Senior U.S. leaders including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general, U.S. Army Europe, also attended the festivities.

On top of being among the first Americans to march in the Ukrainian Independence Day parade, six 45th IBCT Soldiers were honored by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for their heroic actions earlier this year—Sgt. Nelson Deese, Sgt. Matthew Odom and Spcs. Vincent Humerickhouse, Kellar Jackson, Aaron Moore and Kevin Polk were awarded the Ukrainian merit badge for evacuating residents from a burning building in L'viv, Ukraine in July.

While the parade in Kyiv, which was broadcast globally, was a highly visible, symbolic display of U.S. support for Ukraine, further west, fellow Thunderbirds showed their solidarity more locally by participating in Independence Day festivities closer to their home away from home—in the community of Yavoriv, Ukraine.

Lt. Col. Bruce Lambeth, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th IBCT, delivered a speech during the small town’s official ceremony.

“On the day set aside to celebrate Ukraine’s independence and to reflect on the virtues that make Ukraine great,” Lambeth said, “I urge each of you to think about and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the men and women currently serving in uniform safeguarding the freedoms you enjoy today,

Ukrainian citizens—men and women like yourselves, who didn’t necessarily want to fight, but chose to defend their country because of their desire to be a proud and free democratic nation.” ____

The 45th IBCT is currently deployed to Western Ukraine in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to building the training capacity and professionalism of the Ukrainian army.

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