(AMATA PARISH, LATVIA) -- The U.S. Army and Marines train and fight together but came together recently for a community project. Soldiers and Marines joined forces to support the Spares School in Amata Parish, Latvia Oct. 18.
U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne, U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Forces Europe and Africa, helped children at an orphanage in Latvia.
The Soldiers, Paratroopers, and Marines helped clear pine trees and pile the lumber to be used in the spring for a project to build a walking path for the orphanage. The support helped cut three days off the time required for the project.
U.S. Army Spc. Austin Boothe, Paratrooper assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade, said, "Projects like this strengthen our alliance because it shows Latvians we are here to help."
After lunch, the Paratroopers and Marines participated in games and team events with the children. Each team was had two children, a Paratrooper and Marine.
The walking path that is going to be constructed makes its way through a park that is more than one hundred years old. The path will allow the children to walk and play in the woods, have picnics and learn about nature.
"I think it is a good project, especially something like this because it shows the Latvians that we care about them, care about our NATO partnership, specifically with the special needs children it shows the people in the community that we care about them," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Archie Titus, a civil affairs specialist assigned to 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade. "I think when the Latvian citizens see us come out here and help them in their community, they see that they are not alone in the world."
Titus added that coming out here builds relationships with the citizens that can go a long way.
Currently the Paratroopers from 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. and U.S. Marines are participating in exercise Silver Arrow. Silver Arrow is a two-week long Latvian led exercise, which joins foreign Armed Forces units, in order to develop relationships and leverage Allied and partner nation capabilities preserving peace through strength. The exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. lead effort being conducted in Eastern Europe to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.