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Rotational force of the Czech Republic finished their mission in Lithuania
Czech soldiers with the 74th Light Motorised Battalion, 7th Brigade, finished joint training in Lithuania that they had been taking part in since January 10, 2017.
After completing the training with the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kęstutis Mechanised Infantry Battalion the Czech rotational troops were awarded the Lithuanian Armed Forces Medals for Mutual Support on March 17.
According to Commander of Kęstutis Battalion Major Andrius Jagminas, soldiers of the Czech Contingent are highly experienced professionals.
The rotational Czech company in Lithuania comprised light infantry and assault platoons, the soldiers were training with ČZ pistols, CZ805 assault rifles, FN-Minimi machine guns, SVD sniper rifles. The Czech soldiers also had IVECO light multirole carriers with 12.77 mm M2HB Browning machine guns, and other logistical equipment.
“The Czech force worked in three phases in Lithuania, which were preparation, integration and joint training. Soldiers of both countries were training, conducting live fire exercises at Kairiai and Pabradė training areas and the Urban Warfare Training Facility,” Major A. Jagminas said.
Aside from military training Lithuanian and Czech soldiers took part in marches which allowed them to train and develop physical endurance. According to the battalion commander, it did not take longer than the first march for Lithuanians to challenge their Czech colleagues and the march turned into a race of groups even though the soldiers were carrying rucksacks and weapons.
During the weekends the Czech rotational troops visited the Naval Flotilla of the Lithuanian Navy, Klaipėda Old Town, familiarised with its history and tried luck in amber searching on the Baltic coast. The Czech soldiers also paid tribute to January 11, 1991, victims by joining the tribute run in Vilnius “On the Road of Life and Death”.
It was the first ever deployment of roughly 150 Czech soldiers as the NATO rotational force to implement the Alliance Assurance Measures in the Baltic states. Their presence and training in Lithuania is not only a way to enhance interoperability and level of military readiness abut also a vital deterrent and a clear signal of Alliance solidarity.
Since 2014 the assurance measures agreed by NATO are enforced by deploying rotational U.S. Army companies, also Belgian, Danish, Polish, Luxembourg’s, Portuguese, Hungarian and German companies on a several months basis.
Lithuania provides full Host Nation Support to allied troops – lodging, meals, logistical support.
Photo credits: Giedrė Maksimovicz (MoD), Captain Donatas Suchockis, also from the archive of Kęstutis Battalion.