News: Jackal Stone 10: Training for success
Story by Pvt. Christopher Calvert
KLAIPEDA, Lithuania - As the USS Mount Whitney, command ship for the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet, arrives at Klaipeda’s Seaport in Lithuania, the annual Jackal Stone exercise manifests., LIthuania - As the USS Mount Whitney, command ship for the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet, arrives at Klaipeda’s Seaport in Lithuania, the annual Jackal Stone exercise manifests.
The Jackal Stone 2010 exercise, scheduled from Sept. 7 – 27 in various locations throughout both Lithuania and Poland, is a special operations exercise featuring participation from seven nations to include Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the United States and Ukraine.
Coordinated by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, the exercise is designed to build special operations forces capacity, the capabilities of current and future partner nations, and to promote cooperation and interoperability between the participating forces.
As different nations’ forces train together during the exercise, mutual respect is built while sharing doctrinal concepts, training concepts and various tactics, techniques and procedures.
Capt. Kent Paro, Special Operations Task Group 30 commander, spoke on the impact of the exercise to participating nations and forces.
“The missions and skills we’re working on here are applicable to the fight around the world,” Paro said. “By sharing tactics, techniques and procedures, we learn from each other and it benefits us all.”
Paro further commented on both the professional relationships built with participating partners in the exercise, as well as the personal friendships established over the course of the event.
“Camaraderie is through the roof. These are guys we’ve been working with for years, and we know them personally,” Paro said. “We’re both friends and coworkers, and I’m very happy to be here.”
Participating forces have been performing pre-mission training exercises together thus far in preparation for the start of the field training exercise which begins Sept. 20.
By performing these pre-mission exercises, forces get a chance to learn from each other’s standard operating procedures, ultimately allowing them the chance to safely prepare themselves for the kickoff of the FTX.
Pre-mission exercises performed thus far include forces engaging targets using a variety of assault-style weapons at firing ranges, utilizing Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boats to conduct Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training, close quarter battle training, fast rope training from a variety of helicopters, and underwater diving training.
Lt. Cmdr. Oscar Simmons, communications officer for the Naval Special Warfare Unit 2, spoke of the importance of the pre-mission exercises and the magnitude they have on safety and preparation.
“Without building these relationships between forces and without these exercises, it would be like playing a football game without every practicing on the field,” Simmons said. “We wouldn’t expect these individuals to go into harm’s way without the proper equipment, proper training and ample practice.”
Simmons further spoke about the communication and trust that is built while performing such exercises before the start of the FTX.
“Communication is key, you have to be able to shoot, move and communicate to be able to know where the fight is,” Simmons said. “It’s crucial to be able to trust one another. I can put my trust in members of other forces, and they can put their trust in me as well. We know we have each other’s backs.”
With the start of the FTX right around the corner, pre-mission exercises are finalizing and forces prepare to use what they’ve learned to successfully accomplish their mission.
“Through previous exercises and this one, we’ve seen a great increase in capabilities across the board,” Simmons said. “I’ve taken away huge lessons learned and I’m really looking forward to the start of the FTX and an opportunity to deploy down range with fellow forces.”