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Phase II of Exercise Saber Strike 15 kicked off in two Lithuania’s military training areas

2015.06.08
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Video report (credit: Eugenijus Žygaitis)

 

On June 8 Field Training Exercise (FTX), Phase II of Exercise Saber Strike 15, was formally declared open at the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė and the parade ground of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion.

 

The participating soldiers were saluted and the FTX was opened by co-directors of the exercise - Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force Major General Almantas Leika and Deputy Commanding General (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), U.S. Army Europe, Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen. Both Generals underscored in their addresses that the exercise had not only turned into a recurring exercise held on an annual basis but was summoning an increasing number of participating forces each time.

 

“Even though we know each other well and we are frequent participants of training events, only exercises like this can improve our and NATO forces’ skills and interoperability,” General Leika said at the opening event.

 

Wishing to the participating soldiers a good exercise and to maximise their experience General McQueen said: “Remember, Soldiers, that this exercise offers an opportunity both to you and your commanders to learn from one another, an opportunity to grow stronger and improve your skills and to test one another.”

 

Soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, and Canadian, French, German, Portuguese, Slovenian, and U.S. exercise participants lined up for the opening of Phase II.

 

The total of 2,800 soldiers and 300 units of military equipment are here in Lithuania for Saber Strike 15 FTX.

 

Photo credits: - (1-3) Sergeant Paul Peterson, (4-5) Master Sergeant Gintautas Mauricas, (6-7) 1st Lieutenant Andrius Dilda.

 

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Saber Strike is an annual exercise held by the U.S. Army Europe in the Baltic States. Saber Strike 15 is the fifth iteration of the series held in Lithuania. The part of the exercise in Lithuania will involve roughly 1.6 thousand Lithuanian military and 1.5 thousand troops from 8 NATO countries – Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Portugal, USA, Germany, Slovenia and Canada.

 

The part of Exercise Saber Strike 15 held in Latvia will also certify the Baltic Battalion (BALTBAT) which is preparing for standby for the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016. BALTBAT formed by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian militaries is a combined Baltic contribution to the NATO Response Force. Lithuania's input into BALTBAT is a company and a headquarters element of King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion.

 

POC – Captain Paulius Babilas

 

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