News: Saber Strike 2014 Concludes in Latvia
Story by Sgt. Sara Marchus
ADAZI, Latvia – U.S. Army Europe and its regional partners in the Baltic region concluded Saber Strike 2014 multinational, military exercise with a closing ceremony on June 20 at the Adazi Training Area. The exercise ran from June 9 - 20 and spanned multiple locations within the Baltic States.
This year’s exercise consisted of approximately 4,500 service members hailing from ten different nations. The participating countries included; the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, the U.K. and the U.S.
Latvia, the host nation for this year’s exercise, held the closing ceremony with the exercise co-directors, deputy chief of staff (Operations) Brig. Gen. Ainars Ozoliņs and Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, deputy commanding general of Mobilization for Reserve Affairs for U.S. Army Europe presiding.
Ozolins and McQueen addressed the troops and thanked them for all of their dedication to the mission.
“Thank you for coming together in a united front and displaying such great interoperability. You all have boldly stepped forward and succeeded across every domain to achieve all of your training objectives. It is a great honor to serve with you,” said McQueen.
Ozolins commended the troops on their hard work and resilience, “throughout rain, cold weather and other adversaries, you all prevailed.”
This is the fourth year that Saber Strike has brought allied forces together in a U.S. Army Europe-led, joint, multinational military exercise. The overall objective of Saber Strike is to promote regional stability, strengthen international military partnerships, enhance multinational interoperability and prepare participants for worldwide contingency operations.
“All of the nations did excellent working together. They learned many things from each other and improved their individual skills,” said Ozolins.
The first portion of the Saber Strike exercise focused on simulated training exercises, consisting of battle drills and other training scenarios. Observer coach trainers were on site instructing and evaluating troops on their individual skills. The latter half of the exercise incorporated all of the training into a large scale, infantry based field training battle drill exercise.
Saber Strike 14 also featured the integration of U.S. close air support with partner nation ground forces. All activities highlighted joint, multi-national training among the participating nations and were designed to improve operational capability during a variety of missions.
“It was quite remarkable how all nations came together in combined arms maneuvers and it was a phenomenal experience to observe,” said McQueen.
The planning stages are already underway for next year’s exercise.
“Training never ends. We constantly strive to sharpen our toolkits through full spectrum training operations,” said McQueen.