If you want to know where Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade Combat Team soldiers are stationed in eastern Europe, just listen. You'll surely hear the booms.
The more than 4,000 soldiers from Colorado Springs have been expending tank and artillery rounds at a breathtaking rate during some of the most intense training in the unit's history.
"They're going out shooting their weapons, building teams and working with our allied partners who are very capable," Col. Chris Norrie, the brigade's commander said in a telephone interview from Germany.
Norrie's troops headed to Europe in January and have fanned out across the eastern edge of the continent, covering a 1,500-mile stretch across seven nations.
Almost as soon as they got their tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Paladin artillery pieces off of ships, they started shooting.
"We have fired live ammunition every day since Jan. 20," Norrie said.
The nine-month deployment of Fort Carson soldiers is the post's largest commitment to Europe since the Cold War.
With ongoing tensions over the Russian occupation of Eastern Ukraine, the unit's mission is to deter aggression while learning how American troops can fight alongside its newest North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
In Latvia, Lt. Col. Steven Capehart with the brigade's 1st Battalion of the 68th Armored Regiment, said the training has forced troops to stay on their toes.
"In 17 years in the Army, I have never seen an armored brigade move this quickly," he said.
Capehart's battalion has been in daily training with their army counterparts from the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
The American troops have also gotten to know the neighbors, though, including joining in Estonia's Independence Day parade.
"That's what makes this mission so special," Capehart said. "You're able to connect with the community."
For the brigade, that community is pretty big, running from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Norrie said it's a vibrant region that has showered his brigade with adulation in its early days overseas.
"It is incredibly powerful to be here, to be immersed in the environment," said Norrie.
By training alongside those NATO nations, Norrie's troops are also accomplishing a top Army priority. The Army over the past two years has re-emphasized fighting alongside allies as a key goal.
Norrie said the allies have shown the Americans their muscle in recent weeks.
"We are one part of an already incredibly capable and strong NATO alliance," Norrie said.
The pounding pace of the training has made time fly so far, Norrie said.
"Today is our 53rd day in theater - it is crazy," he said.
It won't be slowing down anytime soon.
The brigade is building toward a massive June training exercise that will involve as many as 15,000 troops from Europe.
That's the biggest training exercise for American forces in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Norrie said the rapid pace, though, isn't wearing on his soldiers. There's a measure of pride in the brigade's job these days.
"They know they are making a difference," he said.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240