LIELVARDE AIR BASE, Latvia — Nearly 20 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade landed at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, on Feb. 24. The helicopters and the Soldiers of the 1-3rd Attack Battalion, 12 CAB, are in Latvia to participate in the multinational exercise, Saber Strike 22.
"Saber Strike 22 is an invaluable opportunity for the 12th CAB to train air-ground operations with our Allies, fostering trust with our Latvian and Lithuanian host nation forces," said Col. G. Patrick Schuck, the 12 CAB commander.
The 12 CAB is deploying to Lithuania and Latvia to support the exercise and validate the U.S. Army Europe and Africa's operational reach along NATO's eastern flank. Held every two years, Saber Strike 22 began Feb. 28 and will run through Mar. 18.
The exercise includes approximately 13,000 participants from 13 nations. Exercise activities will occur across the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
"Training events like Saber Strike allow our aircrews to conduct realistic training throughout the year and across the expanse of Europe," said Lt. Col. David Roman, commander, 1-3rd Aviation Brigade.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment will be joining Saber Strike 22 as well. Due to contingency operations, Bravo "Blackcats" Company from the 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment will provide heavy lift capabilities.
"The Blackcats are excited to support 12th CAB and 7th ATC with heavy assault elements," said Capt. Billy Armstrong, commander. "Any chance to train alongside our NATO partners and fly with our fellow aviators is a great opportunity."
Training events like Saber Strike 22 are long-planned and show that NATO allies and partners stand stronger together.
Upon completing the exercise activities, the personnel and equipment are scheduled to return to their home garrisons.
12 CAB conducts multi-domain, realistic, and challenging training exercises and remains ready for full-spectrum combat aviation operations.