A command created in the wake of World War II marked its 70th anniversary while staring at a burgeoning threat as Russia continues its invasion attempt in Ukraine.
The U.S. military's European Command celebrated seven decades of existence Monday in a festive ceremony that included a cake and talk of the need to hold the NATO alliance together.
EUCOM, as the command is known, was founded in 1952 as a permanent U.S. military presence in Europe in the wake of WWII. It was established as part of an overall "Outline Command Plan" by then-President Harry S. Truman, meant to codify an American military presence on the continent as concerns about an impending contest with the Soviet Union grew.
Now headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, EUCOM is responsible for working with American allies to prevent Russia from invading any more countries, while helping funnel arms into Ukraine.
"From the aftermath of World War II through the Cold War and into the challenges of the 21st century, the strong partnerships EUCOM has forged throughout the entire continent in the last seven decades plus its ironclad commitment to NATO have helped maintain security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area," said Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of EUCOM, in a press release Monday.
The celebration comes as the Biden administration also announced Monday an additional $550 million in ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and 155mm howitzers. Those two weapons systems are considered particularly critical for Ukraine's ongoing, bloody fight in the east of the country where many towns have been reduced to rubble as Ukrainian and Russian troops continue to struggle for control.
Monday's latest batch of military aid is the Biden administration's seventeenth instance of repurposing military inventories for use in Ukraine since last year, according to a Department of Defense press release.
The announcement noted that the aid included 75,000 rounds of ammunition for the howitzers.
The U.S. has allocated about $8.8 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the administration.
"Over the last 70 years, generations of U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, contractors and now Guardians have preserved, deterred and defended an increasingly dynamic Euro-Atlantic security environment," Cavoli said.
-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.