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    'Peaceful Home': US Soldiers participate in Estonian security exercise

    'Peaceful Home': US Soldiers participate in Estonian security exercise

    Photo By Sgt. Caitlyn Byrne | Sgt. 1st Class Pablo Flores (left), native of Los Angeles and platoon sergeant and 1st...... read more read more

    VORU, Estonia – Despite the cold and the sweep of clouds and mist that descended upon Kuperjanov Training Base, on Nov. 6, both Estonian and U.S. Soldiers carried on successfully with their training for Exercise Rahulik Kodu, Estonian for “Peaceful Home.”

    Lt. Col. Hando Toevere, battalion commander of Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade explained what Exercise Rahulik Kodu was, stating, “This is an annual security exercise to find out how well we are protected as a military unit during peacetime. So we have developed some instances that our troops can react on to just prepare our troops so that they can be ready if something really happens.”

    Toevere further explained that this annual exercise would specifically gauge how well Estonian soldiers would be able to tactically respond to potential outside threats to their base security.

    “We are going to have certain persons and vehicles trying to mock-breach our security or present suspicious activity and we are trying to see if our patrols will spot them and what their reaction will be,” said Toevere. “We will also see how the local population will react to suddenly seeing foreign troops in their town so we will be gauging their reactions as well.”

    As for U.S. involvement, infantrymen of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division were also present at Kuperjanov Training Base to assist with this year’s exercise.

    “We are trying to integrate the U.S. forces into our plans, and so we have with us a U.S. platoon which will conduct patrols in nearby areas,” said Toevere. “This is how we are going to work things out in real-time, if something happens we will be ready to react and this time working with the U.S. during this operation will be very good.”

    Toevere also explained that this would be the first year that U.S. Soldiers, any foreign soldiers, would be participating in the Estonian security exercise.

    “We will study and see how U.S. troops conduct operations and learn from them but this will primarily be an exercise of cooperation and coordination together,” said Toevere. “We also have the difficulty of language, where usually we are speaking primarily Estonian but suddenly we will need to communicate in English as well so that we can all work together.”

    Sergeant Andrew Hurley, a Columbus, Ohio native and team leader for 3rd Batt., 69th Armored Reg., 1st Bde., 3rd Infantry Div. said that patrols were going well and that he had high hopes for the continued partnership between Estonian and U.S. forces.

    “We are here, working with the Estonians, running patrols throughout the town, coordinating with the Estonians, working out a better cooperation and building a better rapport with them,” Hurley explained. “We toured through about half the town of Voru, and later in the day we will do another patrol and tour the other half. Overall I think that we were very well received, the citizens seemed energetic and actually appreciative that we were here, it makes it a lot easier to train and actually do our job.”

    Hurley and his unit are participating in Exercise Rahulik Kodu in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Operation Atlantic Resolve is U.S. Army Europe-led Operation Atlantic Resolve land force assurance training taking place across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to enhance multinational interoperability, strengthen relationships among allied militaries, contribute to regional stability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO.

    “It’s going pretty smoothly,” said Hurley. “Our presence is well established and I think that it’s well coordinated with the Estonian leaders and our leaders; they are working well with us and communicating freely and asking for our input on things so that makes everything easier, rather then it being one sided, it’s actually a combined effort.”

    Hurley also stated he was glad that some of his junior Soldiers have the opportunity to participate in both Exercise Rahulik Kodu as well as Operation Atlantic Resolve as a whole.

    “Many of my guys haven’t deployed before and they get to see another culture, another country and how they operate day-to-day and tactically,” Hurley said. “It’s always good to learn new things.

    For Hurley, the main focus for him and his team has been interoperability between allies.

    “The biggest thing for us being here is to support our NATO allies,” Hurley commented, “to connect with them and to build a better brotherhood with other countries and to overall, just be more accepting of other cultures.”



    Date Taken: 11.06.2015
    Date Posted: 11.08.2015 16:52
    Story ID: 181350
    Location: VORU, EE 
    Hometown: COLUMBUS, OH, US
    Hometown: LOS ANGELES, CA, US

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