ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia (June 18, 2015) -- Military personnel from seven nations participated in a final training event before a closing ceremony was held for Saber Strike 2015 here, June 18.
The culminating event was a battle which facilitated cooperation amongst several allies and partners to further validate the Baltic Battalion's place as NATO Response Force, or NRF.
"[Saber Strike] has changed," said Latvia National Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Juris Zeibart, about the small-scale, single-country exercise that started in 2010. "While it has become more challenging, it has also gotten more interesting; enhancing opportunities and skills."
The Baltic Battalion, made up of the Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian Army, fought against the Viking Battalion, a fictional unit created specifically for the exercise in a scenario-driven final battle.
Estonian Army's Scouts Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Andrus Merilo, who served as the commander for Baltic Battalion for the exercise, expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the three nations, which have now been given combat ready status.
"I'm very glad my battalion had the opportunity to lead the Baltic Battalion," Merilo said. "The cooperation between the Baltic nation's militaries further strengthens Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania."
While the battle required the battalions to work together and employ their military's specific arsenal and capabilities, attempting to thwart one another, all efforts were to improve overall joint operational proficiency in preparation to support multinational contingency operations if necessary.
"The militaries of the Baltic States have passed their national certification, they can go now go on to receive their NRF certification in the fall," Zeibarts concluded.
Saber Strike, a long-standing, Baltic-wide U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training with more than 6,000 participants from 14 different nations, is one of several exercises conducted under Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing, multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between the U.S. and other NATO allies.
Visit the Saber Strike and Operation Atlantic Resolve websites for up-to-date photos and information.