PABRADE, Lithuania - Robert Gilchrist, U.S. ambassador to Lithuania, visited 1st Battalion, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment Soldiers and multinational partner forces who came together for a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise on Feb. 12.

Gilchrist served as deputy chief of mission, a rank second only to ambassador, at the U.S. embassies in Sweden and Estonia, and also as the director of Nordic and Baltic affairs in the department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, in addition to assignments in many other parts of the world.

His enthusiasm U.S. service members and the success of this multinational effort was quite evident.

"500 American Soldiers here, of course I'm going to come here. For many of them it was their first time out of the United States," said Gilchrist. "There's a lot of mud here, a lot of metal, a lot of tanks, a lot of noise, but to me it's actually beautiful."

The ambassador was escorted around the camp as he toured the Soldiers' Containerized Housing Units, the Advanced Gunnery Training System, the Soldiers' gym and the M1A2 Abrams tank system.

The culmination of the CALFEX was a large-scale display of combined forces strategically firing and moving downrange, ending in a dismounted engagement.

"Beyond the military troops, what we have together are common values. We're democracies, we're allies," said Gilchrist. "I think what this shows is the U.S. commitment to the alliance and to the Baltic States, but really this is about preparedness, it's about training your troops."

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