By Staff Sgt. Corinna Baltos, 24th Press Camp HQDecember 5, 2016
PABRADE, Lithuania -- Multinational military exercise Iron Sword 2016 has ended. The 13-day exercise, which began, Nov. 20, ended with a closing ceremony at General Silvestras Zukauskas Training Area in Pabrade, Lithuania, Dec. 2.
"Iron Sword 2016 has reached the finish line," said Brig. Gen. Valdemaras Rupsys commander, Lithuanian Land Forces during the closing ceremony. "I am proud you have made it. Our goal of a quick and efficient response to conventional threats was accomplished by working together. This demonstrates to our allies that, working together, we are capable of dealing with any situation."
More than 4,000 Soldiers from 11 NATO countries participated in the exercise which was designed to train and assess battalion sized elements while they planned and conducted decisive action operations, in order to improve the level of partnership capacity of the multinational forces involved.
As part of the exercise, the Soldiers were divided up into two multi-national battalions where they practiced tactics used in attacking and defending an urban training site over several days.
"It was excellent training," said Maj. Adrian Thompson, commander B. Company, 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment, British Armed Forces. "We learned a lot about how to operate in a multi-national environment, and we were able to establish good relationships with our Allied partners."
Lt. Col. Michael Kloepper, commander, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat (Airborne), echoed Thompson's assessment of the training.
"This exercise gives our training a sense of purpose," he said "We understand the deterrence aspect of this type of training."
2nd Bn., 503rd Infantry Regt. (Airborne) has been in the Baltics since September conducting training with their Baltic counterparts as part of Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. led effort in Eastern Europe that demonstrates 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.