PABRADE, Lithuania - First Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, recently held Operation Eagle Shock, a combined arms live-fire exercise in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve from October 8-14 at Pabrade Training Area, Lithuania.
The 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. is responsible for Operation Atlantic Resolve North, which covers the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and also Poland.
Partnering with the Lithuanian Land Forces, the 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. leaders intended to develop leaders, increase unit lethality, and build interoperability during Operation Eagle Shock. According to unit leadership, the operation was vital, and beneficial.
"I firmly believe that there is no better place to be a leader than in Europe right now," said Lt. Col. Michael Wagner, the 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. battalion commander. "The requirements and responsibilities that our officers and NCOs have as they operate on their own as a company in different countries is pretty unique."
Wagner mentioned that his officers and NCOs interact with high level host-nation leadership when planning and executing training across the Baltic States.
"It's an honor to be able to serve here at this critical time and to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to collective security in Europe by training with our NATO allies," said Wagner.
Throughout the operation, Soldiers of the 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., as well as those of the Lithuanian Land Forces trained on objectives that included conducting support by fire, breaching obstacles, and occupying an anti-armor firing position.
During Operation Eagle Shock, platoons participated in phases to include blank-fire, live-fire and night-fire iterations.
As a grand finale for its time in country, the 1st Bn. 503rd Inf. Regt. used Operation Eagle Shock as an opportunity to put to good use its training from the past.
"Eagle Shock is the culmination of what we have been doing here for the last five months," said 1st Lt. Steven Siberski, platoon leader for Company D, 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt. "Over the time we've been here we've been conducting live fire exercises at the platoon and section level and now we are working at the company where it is not only American Forces, but also with our Lithuanian counterparts."
"So now we're integrating Apache helicopters, infantry units, combat engineers, howitzers and mortars to really bring together full spectrum of operations," Siberski continued.
Aside from the high level training received by both the U.S. Soldiers and Lithuanian Land Forces, the opportunity to work together was the highlight of the event.
"I really enjoyed working with the Lithuanians because they bring new things to the table," said Siberski. "It only makes us better to compare how we do things and bring that together."
This sentiment was echoed by members of the Lithuanian Land Forces.
"I think this training is important because we're working with American Soldiers," said Vytautas Cereskevicius, a Soldier with the Juozas Vitkaus Engineer Battalion of the Lithuanian Land Forces. "I think it is very good for us and American Soldiers because they can teach us and we can teach American Soldiers good things."
Operation Atlantic Resolve provides U.S. and allied forces the opportunity to work and train together and improves their ability to operate as a combined force that capability is essential to the security and strength of Europe.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe and is capable of deploying ready forces to conduct the full range of military operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Commands' areas of operations within 18 hours.
This work, US Army, Lithuanian Land Forces partner for training, by SSG Michael Behlin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.