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    Michigan National Guard Soldiers wrap up Operation Silver Arrow in Latvia



    Story by Capt. Douglas Halleaux 

    Michigan National Guard

    ADAZI, Latvia – Michigan Army National Guard Soldiers wrapped up two weeks of intense training with the Latvian military Sunday at the closing ceremony for Operation Silver Arrow.

    Silver Arrow is a multinational, Latvian-led training exercise operated in conjunction with U.S. Army Europe and Operation Atlantic Resolve.

    After more than a week of pre-training, rehearsals and familiarity, the exercise began Oct. 1. Maneuver units represented the militaries from Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Great Britain and the United States and included mechanized units, chinook and apache helicopters, and an array of various vehicles and equipment from each nation’s inventory.

    Michigan Army National Guard forces have previously worked with the Latvian military, both through the State Partnership Program and on a recent deployment together to Afghanistan.

    “Nowadays, we are practicing a different kind of operations, like conventional warfighting for Article 5 missions. As we do, it’s very important that [Michigan Soldiers] are here and it shows, first of all, our continuous relationship, and second, our interoperability and capability to work together,” says Col. Martins Liberts, Latvia’s Land Force Infantry Brigade commander.

    In total, more than 2,000 military members participated in the exercise, the largest so far produced by the annual event.

    The Soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard’s 177th Military Police Brigade were fully integrated with Latvian units, working side-by-side with Latvian engineers, military police, chemical soldiers and infantry.

    “We have a long-lasting history with the Michigan National Guard, working together and training together,” says Liberts. “This is one small proof of our long-lasting relationship.”

    The experience for the Soldiers extended beyond tactics and techniques training. The opportunities for personal relationship building were frequent, and the soldiers from each country walked away with something long lasting.

    “The camaraderie we’ve built and the communication has opened up,” says Sgt. Maj. Edward Williams, leader of Michigan’s MP Team One. “If they were to ever make it to the United States, I wouldn’t hesitate to invite them into my home.”

    Williams’ team worked closely with senior military police noncommissioned officers from the Latvian National Defense Academy.

    “Getting to know their personal lives and their basic likes and dislikes have allowed us to build a friendship so that while training, when there is a disagreement, it can be talked over without any sort of grudge and we continue to move forward,” says Williams.

    After Sunday’s closing ceremony, Michigan’s Soldiers will prepare to return home.



    Date Taken: 10.05.2014
    Date Posted: 10.06.2014 15:03
    Story ID: 144407
    Location: RIGA, RIX, LV

    Web Views: 122
    Downloads: 1