ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia -- U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Minister�of Defense and soon-to-be president of Latvia, Raimonds Vejonis, and several additional dignitaries visited Saber Strike 2015 training exercises here, June 10-11.
The visit demonstrated USAREUR's expeditionary capabilities in a multinational training environment, which included everything from close air support missions utilizing A-10 aircraft from the Maryland Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Squadron, 175th Wing to squad movement operations performed by Norwegian Army's 2nd Infantry Battalion and British Army's Royal Gurkas Rifles.
"Working together is essential," Hodges said. "In all of the exercises we've done, you see the quality [in our efforts]. I have so much confidence in all of our allies here. It's important that we keep practicing together to continue building upon that confidence."
Saber Strike, a long-standing, multilateral, multifaceted, USAREUR-led security cooperation exercise conducted annually since 2010, aims to improve the capabilities of the participating nations for future contingency operations.
"To keep the high level of interoperability that we have maintained over the years, and improve upon it, is a very powerful demonstration from NATO," said the Latvian Ambassador to NATO M�ris Rieksti��. "We are preparing for every potential threat and every potential scenario; even those that are unlikely to take place. We are tirelessly reiterating our position to develop partnership relations."
The two-week exercise spans multiple locations, which includes Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Estonia, and involves approximately 6,000 personnel from 14 nations: U.S., Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Canada, and Slovenia.
"We have exercised and trained useable forces," said Joint Force Commander Gen. Hans-Lothar Domrö. "NATO is a family of like-minded nations and we are all ready to defend and demonstrate that NATO is a capable, willing, well-equipped and trained force."
Through Saber Strike 2015, participating nations will validate a variety of joint capabilities; all in the name of sustaining and enhancing multinational partnership.
"The investment you see here today is important," Hodges concluded. "To see the countries here making that investment makes us a better alliance. None of us are ever going to fight alone."
Visit the Saber Strike website for up-to-date photos and information.