By Sgt. Sara MarchusJune 17, 2014
RUKLA, Lithuania (June 17, 2014) -- President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, the Danish Minister of Defence Nicolai Wammen and other distinguished visitors arrived at Gaiziunu Training Range here today, to view a multinational combat maneuver demonstration as part of exercise Saber Strike 2014.
The president and distinguished visitors were briefed on Saber Strike and its objectives before watching the demonstration that involved approximately 2,000 Soldiers from Denmark, Poland, Lithuania and the U.S. in a dynamic display that demonstrated allies working together in a cohesive operating environment.
The president thanked all the participating nations and reiterated the importance of strength in NATO partnerships.
"These exercises are very important for us. It shows that allies are always with us," said Grybauskaite. "As a host country, we will always welcome our NATO military resources."
Saber Strike 2014 is a U.S. Army Europe-led exercise mainly focused on the three Baltic States, and designed to promote regional stability, strengthen international military partnerships, enhance multinational interoperability and prepare participants for worldwide contingency operations.
"It is important we demonstrate that NATO forces can train together and it is not just something that is written. It is valuable for our political members to see such a superb exercise, which showcases our strengths," said Brig. Gen. Jens Garly, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the Danish Division, taking part in the training.
Garly said deploying to another country and engaging in full-spectrum operational training shows the strength and flexibility of combat units.
"Throughout the Saber Strike exercise, we all have gained priceless experience. This is a platform for any future cooperation," he said.
Immediately following the demonstration, Soldiers lined the airstrip with their equipment and weaponry to create an integrated display and interact with the distinguished guests.
The display consisted of an allied offensive operation that included forces using Black Hawk helicopters, Leopard 2 A5 main battle tanks, M113 G4 tracked armored vehicles, CV 9035 tracked armored infantry combat vehicles, Piranha wheeled infantry fighting vehicles, Duro armored medical trucks, engineer vehicles, armored recovery and evacuation vehicles, and Eagle IV armored wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, to simulate combat maneuvers using a tactical approach to engage and suppress opposing forces. Interoperability and strengthening partnerships by combining unique methods and strategies into one cohesive environment has been a top focus of this year's Saber Strike exercise.
"It is very beneficial training outside of our usual areas where we can learn new exercises and new tactics," said Pvt. Christopher Stubkjer of the Danish Reaction Battle Group 2014-2.
Saber Strike 2014 is the largest military exercise to take place on Lithuanian soil. Approximately 4,500 participants from 10 nations are involved in the exercise, which spans across multiple locations throughout Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The exercise is slated to conclude June 20.
Units participating in the event at Gaiziunu Training Range included the Reaction Battle Group of the 2nd Brigade of the Danish Division; the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanized Infantry Battalion with assigned air, military medicine, military police and engineer units; U.S. Army Europe's 173rd Airborne Brigade; a companies from the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kestutis Mechanized Infantry Battalion and the Grand Duchess Birute Uhlan Battalion; a Polish Land Forces scout platoon and 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Pennsylvania Army National Guard.