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Year’s largest exercise in Lithuania Iron Wolf 2017 came to a wrap


“You have proved your ability to operate in international team, carry out complex defensive operations and retain excellent relations with local population,” Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys said at the closing ceremony of multinational Exercise Iron Wolf 2017 in Rukla on June 23.


Closing ceremonies of the two week-long exercise took place on Friday in Gaižiūnai (Jonava district) and General Silvestras Žukauskas (Švenčionys district) Training Areas with leadership of the Government, Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces in attendance.


Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said at the ceremony in Gaižiūnai to Lithuanian and allied troops: “You demonstrated your professionalism and readiness to act together during the exercise. Those are vital conditions for ensuring security of the entire region and effectiveness of deterrence.”


On the last day of the exercise a roughly five hour-long defensive operation took place in Gaižiūnai Training Area and around it: German, Dutch and Norwegian soldiers used powerful artillery guns to carry out tasks, soldiers of General R.Giedraitis Artillery Battalion provided artillery support. The opposing force was played by soldiers of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry and the Grand Duchess Birute Uhlan Battalions.


Exercise Iron Wolf 2017 ran for two weeks. The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion based in Rukla trained with artillery personnel of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and soldiers of the NATO eFP Battalion deployed in Poland. Soldiers of the U.S. Minnesota Army National Guard, King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion, Military Medical Service and other units trained at General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė.


The parts of the exercise in southern, middle and eastern parts of Lithuania assessed readiness of the recently manned to completion NATO eFP Battalion in Lithuania, also trained staffs of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and the Motorised Infantry Brigade Žemaitija to plan and arrange defensive and offensive operations for the multinational battalion battle groups in populated areas , interoperability with NATO allies was improved.


The exercise also for the first time provided an opportunity to act together with NATO units moving in from Poland in order to join forces in Suwalki Gap.


The exercise involved roughly 5.300 of military personnel from Lithuania and eight more NATO allies: Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also served as the final phase of service for conscripts from King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion before reserve.


Photo credits: OR-6 Lukas Kalvaitis (MoD), OF-2 Paulius Babilas (NDVF) and OR-3 Vilius Džiavečka (NDVF)

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