News: Exercise Saber Strike 2012 kicks off in Latvia
Story by Maj. Brian Carlin
CAMP ADAZI, Latvia - Soldiers, airmen and Marines from eight different nations came together to officially signify the kickoff of Exercise Saber Strike 2012 during a ceremony held on the parade grounds here June 10.
SbS12 is a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise scheduled to run from June 10-22 at multiple training areas in Estonia and Latvia. The exercise, which has approximately 2,000 participants, promotes regional stability and security, strengthens international military partnering and fosters trust while improving interoperability between participating nations.
The nations participating in the exercise are the U.S., Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Canada, Finland, France and the United Kingdom.
The opening ceremony for the exercise began with a U.S. Air Force A10 Warthog flyover, which was followed by the raising of the participating nations' flags. After the flag honors, U.S. Army and Latvian army leaders addressed the soldiers and provided them with insight and guidance for the exercise.
“You will learn each other’s techniques and operations, you will learn to communicate with one another in a wide variety of conditions, overcoming obstacles along the way. You will spend some long nights together during the 24-hour operations and send live rounds down the same range. You will conduct cordon and search operations while soldiers from partnership nations provide over-watch. You will conduct urban operations, all being executed with your partnering nations,” said Lt. Col. Donna K. Fanning, the commander of the 21st Special Troops Battalion.
“Over the next two weeks, you will train as you fight, together with partners.”
The main objectives for SbS12 is to improve NATO interoperability and strengthen the relationship between military forces of the U.S., Baltic nations and other participating nations, to conduct mission readiness exercises for units preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force, to exercise host nation support of the reception, staging and onward movement and integration of participating forces.
Those objectives will be met by the multinational soldiers participating in situational and field training exercises such as convoy operations, base defense scenarios, urban patrol (mounted and dismounted) scenarios, cordon and search scenarios and counter-improvised explosive device scenarios.
“I look forward to seeing how each country operates and seeing the different leadership styles,” said Sgt. 1st Class David M. Miron, an electronics maintenance supervisor with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and a native of Dearborn, Mich. “I think it will be cool to just see us all work together to accomplish our missions.”
“My feelings about this exercise are pretty good, in the coming days as the exercise gets started, everything should fall in place and things should move pretty smoothly,” said Latvian army Maj. Juris Cudo, the officer in charge of real life support for all the soldiers here. “It took a lot to prepare for this exercise so we just hope everything goes well.”