PABRADE, Lithuania – When 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division received word of their upcoming deployment as rotational forces to Pabrade Training Area, Lithuania, some Troopers were worried as the deployment would be their first. For two Troopers, they would find a slice of home during their rotation.
“I’m comfortable here,” said Spc. Rimma Korinteli, a logistics specialist with the Forward Support Company. “I can understand and speak freely here.”
Korinteli is a Russian-born Trooper who grew up with her family in the neighboring country. She attended university in Russia majoring in Global Finance. To continue her education, she immigrated to the United States and officially became a citizen in December 2018.
Fluent in both Russian and Lithuanian languages, she can communicate and speak her native tongue with staff members and Lithuanian Griffin Brigade soldiers as well as the conscript basic combat trainees who are collocated with 2-8 Cav. Reg. at the Pabrade Training Area.
“She has had a tremendous impact for 2-8 Cav.,’ said Capt. Riley Kramer, her company commander. “The DFAC hasn’t had help for a long time from U.S. Soldiers. Because of her communication skills, my Troopers have integrated well with the Lithuanian DFAC serving Lithuanian cuisine with added American flavors.”
Korinteli has been able to communicate to the dining facility manager to coordinate assistance with serving meals to U.S. and Lithuanian forces, as well as coordinate for hot soup and coffee to be delivered to Soldiers working in field environments.
“They like having us here to help with meals and lift the vats of soup,” Korinteli said. “They seem to like working with us.”
Another Trooper, 1st Lt. Colin Marney, the Company C executive officer, had a chance to revisit his past while in the area. As a college student, he was offered an opportunity to attend school abroad. While his university was located in neighboring Latvia, he spent much of his free time in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capitol.
“I was able to spend a lot of time here in college,” Marney said. “Vilnius is one of the coolest places I have ever been.”
While attending school, Marney was able to travel across Lithuania to visit cultural sites and absorb much of the culture. He learned some of the language as well. Though not fluent in the Lithuanian language, he does understand some of the language and is able to communicate conversationally with local host nation personnel.
Since the arrival of 2-8 Cav. Reg. in Lithuania, locals have taken notice of U.S. forces as they arrived. Curious about the foreign forces, local news outlet Leimeno Krantai requested a chance to interview the two Troopers Dec. 11. The interview gave locals an inside look at what U.S. Soldiers are like. They were also interested in the differences and similarities of cultures as the Christmas season looms.
“My Family is from New Orleans, Louisiana, so on Christmas Eve we always do gumbo,” Marney said.
Lithuania, famous for their “pink soup,” a traditional beet soup called saltibarsciai. Soup is often served at least once a day in Lithuania. The local journalist eager to know what gumbo is, asked Marney for his family gumbo recipe to share with readers.
“It was great having these Troopers interviewed,” said Maj. Patrick Lynch, battalion executive officer. “It gives the people of Pabrade a chance to understand that 2-8 Cav. is here to support our allies and partners as well as the local people.”