TAPA ARMY BASE, Estonia – Soldiers assigned to Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, supporting the 4th Infantry Division in Europe, were presented NATO medals from the Estonian military and civilian leadership during a ceremony, March 22, at Tapa Army Base, Estonia.
The medals were presented to recognize the Soldiers' hard work and contributions to international military operations during their rotation in Estonia.
Hanno Pevkur, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Estonia, delivered a speech saying his gratitude for the United States’ presence in Estonia is reassuring.
“Dear friends, let me thank you all for your service. Let me thank your families that they are understanding of what kind of work you are doing,” Pevkur said. “The least we can do today is present these medals for your excellent contributions.”
Throughout their rotation, the Soldiers from the 1-14 FA trained Estonian allies on the M142 HIMARS, high mobility artillery rocket system, a light multiple rocket system. The battalion also introduced the artillery system to Estonian officials, both military and civilian, while also displaying the M142 HIMARS throughout the country.
The award citation mentioned participation in international military operations through outstanding contributions toward strengthening security along the Eastern flank of NATO.
Gabrielle Cowan, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, also relayed her gratitude.
“I can’t tell you enough how happy I am to be here for all of you getting an award for all of the training you have been doing with the Estonian Forces,” Cowan said. “Your work has enhanced interoperability with the other NATO allies that are here in Estonia as well.”
Staff Sgt. John Barnes, a HIMARS section chief assigned to 1-14 FA, was one of 54 Soldiers to receive the medal. Barnes says the recognition demonstrates the purpose of their presence in Estonia.
“To earn this medal really reinforces why we are here and the importance of that,” Barnes said. “It showcases just how important our work is here in Estonia in support of NATO and the mission.”
The 4th Infantry Division's mission in Europe is to engage in multinational training and exercises across the continent, working alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces to V Corps, America’s forward deployed corps.