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    NATO Nations Assert Capabilities

    Saber Strike 17 Kicks Off

    Photo By Cpl. Ricardo Davila | VENTSPILS, Latvia-U.S. Sailors with Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One, conduct the...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Devan Barnett 

    Marine Forces Reserve

    VENTSPILS, Latvia – Saber Strike 17 kicks off this year with troops and vehicles coming ashore with tactical landing crafts from Maritime Prepositioning Ships in the Baltic Sea to Ventspils, Latvia, May 23-24, 2017.
    Exercise Saber Strike 17 is an annual combined-joint exercise conducted at various locations throughout the Baltic region and Poland. The combined training prepares allies and partners to respond more to regional crises and meet their own security needs by improving the security of borders and countering threats.
    “We are interacting with our partners to reassure them that we will be here in a crisis or if something happens, because the United States is a strong ally of NATO,” said Maj. Jerry Aymond, the operations officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve.
    During the instream offloads, U.S. Marines and sailors came together with other partner nations to face the challenges of the complicated process of offloading equipment and vehicles such as tanks and bulldozers. All of this is made possible by the Maritime Prepositioning Force, a strategic power-projection capability that combines the lift capacity, flexibility, and responsiveness of surface ships with the speed of strategic airlift.
    “The MPF program is a phenomenal capability for the Marine Corps and we’re showcasing it here,” said Aymond. “The ability to do an instream offload means we can offload a significant amount of equipment anywhere around the world, without a port. Now we don’t have to wait for equipment to come from the continental United States to respond to a crisis.”
    In Latvia, the U.S. troops are developing their skills in a real life situation, instead of simulated training exercises in CONUS, to familiarize themselves with the equipment and prepare for any unexpected situations that can come up. The partner nations of Saber Strike 17 have overcome many things, including language barriers, to make sure this mission can be accomplished on the beaches of Ventspils.
    “Working with other nations, and understanding their capabilities has gone very well,” said Aymond. “We don’t always know their capabilities; coming out here and realizing we can work with them and communicate with them effectively helps us build our confidence in NATO.”
    Working together has promoted the strength of NATO and has demonstrated its capabilities, not only to themselves, but other nations. Establishing and maintaining credibility with our partner nations through confirmation that the advertised equipment will work efficiently is a vital part of the exercise.
    U.S. Marines and sailors, active and reserve, all came together with 26 other nations, including the host nation Latvia, and over 11,000 service members and have successfully kicked off Saber Strike 17 with the success of offloading essential pieces of equipment and vehicles needed to complete the overseas mission.
    “Aside from the great training, we have efficiently provided equipment to this exercise, tactically, rather than having it commercially sent over here. We are training the way we fight,” said Aymond.



    Date Taken: 05.25.2017
    Date Posted: 05.26.2017 01:25
    Story ID: 235397
    Location: VENTSPILS, LV 
    Hometown: MARIETTA, GA, US

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