RUKLA, Lithuania - With the 2d Cavalry Regiment color bearer walking off the parade field with the exercise colors, U.S. Army Europe's multinational exercise Saber Strike 18 came to a close, June 15.
Military units from U.S., U.K. and Lithuania stood in formation at Rukla Air Field commemorating the collective knowledge and experience shared through joint training during the exercise.
"We didn't just talk about working together, we demonstrated it," said Brig. Gen. Richard R. Coffman, Atlantic Resolve Mission Command Element commander and deputy commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
"We are a very capable force able to plan and fight side by side," said Coffman during his speech.
Exercise Saber Strike 18 was held June 3-15 at training areas in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Participants from 19 different countries participated in the eighth iteration of the exercise spread across the four countries. The long-standing USAREUR-led cooperative training exercise is designed to enhance readiness and interoperability among allies and regional partners.
Countries that participated in the exercise include Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania,
Spain and the United Kingdom.
"When I see the flags of our other nations on the shoulders of my counter-parts, I see brothers and sisters in arms," said Coffman in his closing remarks. "Our shared passion for our collective is strong, extremely strong, as demonstrated through Saber Strike 18."
The key training events of Saber Strike 18 included a convoy of over 1,300 kilometers by 2CR using multiple routes from Germany to Lithuania as they participated in different aspects of the exercise: air assault operations in Lithuania and bridge and river crossing operations with German and U.K. military engineers to support freedom of movement in Lithuania and Poland.
USAREUR's contingency reaction force, Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron, 2CR, conducted a separate convoy to Latvia to conduct live fire and joint reconnaissance training with the Latvian and Canadian military.
This exercise provided a fulcrum for NATO to showcase Mission Command - North East, Multinational Division North East and the associated NATO Forces Integration Units as a mission command structure capable of commanding on a broad scale and in a complex environment.
The next Saber Strike exercise is expected to take place in 2020.