Soldiers, Commanders and Colors are formed during a rehearsal for a division review on Fort Campbell, Ky., August 16, 2012.
photo: U.S. Army
The Airborne Forces reached the borders of Ukraine, and their commanders expressed their readiness to fight.
The light infantry unit nicknamed "Screaming Eagles" was trained to be deployed on any battlefield in the world within hours and combat-ready.
"CBS News" joined the Deputy Commander of the Division, Brigadier General John Lubas, and Colonel Edwin Methides, Commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, on board the Black Hawk helicopter, which flew to the outer border of NATO territory, just one mile from Romania's border with Ukraine.
Since the moment when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation against Ukraine on February 24, the advance of the forces to the north of the Crimean Peninsula, a Ukrainian region controlled by Moscow in 2014, and for more than seven months, Russia has been trying to push along the Black Sea coast to the Kherson region to seize the main Ukrainian ports of Mykolaiv and Odesa.
And their goal is to cut off all the entrances of Ukrainians to the sea, leaving the country and the military forces without shores. Making Ukraine a landlocked country would undermine its resistance and Russia's further push into the country.
The threat is imminent to NATO in Romania, which explains the sending of one of the most potent American air attack forces with some heavy equipment.
Lobas told CBS News: "We are capable of defending the entire area of NATO territory, and with our unique capabilities, our air capabilities and assets, we are an infantry force, but once again we do not take our capabilities and assets into account."
Along the Black Sea coast in Romania, the landing of the Black Hawk aircraft during the front operations where the American and Romanian forces were shelling targets during a joint air and land attack maneuver. The purpose of the exercises was to recreate the battles that the Ukrainian forces were fighting all day against the Russian troops directly across the border, as the military maneuvers very close to those borders are a clear message to Russia and America's allies in NATO that the American army is here.
Romanian General Lulian Berdila told CBS News: "The real meaning for me, because of the American forces here, is as if you had allies in Normandy before there was any enemy there," referring to the historic World War II battle on the northern coast of France.
The American forces were stationed at the air base of the Romanian army. Deploying around 4,700 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Forces is to strengthen the eastern wing of the NATO alliance.
Mattis told the "CBS News" network that he was the closest American force to the fight in Ukraine. And from my point of view, they are "close combat" with the Russian troops and set targets for training them. And the subject of this situation is "We stay on our toes." We conduct exercises simulating precisely what we are doing in the war.
"They are always ready to fight tonight," said the Screaming Eagles leader. While they are there to defend NATO territories, if the fighting escalates or there is any attack on NATO, they are fully ready to cross the border to Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine has experienced frequent escalations following Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions and its threat to "use all means necessary" to defend Russian territory, which now also includes areas that Ukraine is fighting to control.