Statement from LtCol Steven Wolf, Black Sea Rotational Force 13
Summer Shield 10 is a multi-lateral training exercise that will enhance our professional military capacity and increase our ability to operate with our NATO allies in the Baltic Region.
During this exercise, US Marines will work side-by-side with members of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Armed Forces. We will conduct battalion level planning, exchange small-unit tactics, and integrate fires with maneuver to enhance our ability to cooperate when conducting combined arms planning and operations.
This exercise will continue to bolster our relationship with the Latvian Army so that we may collectively address common security challenges in the region.
We are very much looking forward to this exercise so that we can visit Latvia to exchange ideas and experiences, and are grateful for this opportunity.
From 15 to 26 April in Ādaži Training Area, soldiers of the Land Forces Infantry Brigade and US marines during the Operation Summer Shield X will learn how to integrate combat support elements in various infantry operations thereby promoting interoperability.
Latvian 2nd Infantry Battalion staff, 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalion companies, as well as mortar, antitank, intelligence, engineer, joint terminal attack controllers and sniper units from the Combat Support Battalion will take part in the training. National Guard 34th Artillery Battalion, National Guard 54th Engineer Battalion, as well as the National Academy of Defence and Air Force Aviation Base will be represented as well. Combat support specialists from Estonian Defence forces and Lithuanian Armed forces will participate in the training as observers.
To promote the collaboration and mutual exchange the experience between Latvian and US military forces, 100 US marines have arrived from Romania to represent the Black Sea Rotational Force 13.
Professional and positive attitude towards the task fulfilment, initiative — these are only some criteria expected from the training participants by training commander, Combat Support Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Gunārs Kauliņš. He reveals that the goal of the training is to improve the combat support capabilities of the brigade, as well as to strengthen the collaboration with other units of NAF: “We will improve the capabilities of battalion staff, as well as integration of various combat support elements in the operations of the infantry company — in an attack, defence and other obstacles. Combat support elements in this training will be joint terminal attack controllers, as well as mortar, engineer, sniper and antitank support.”
“This training to some extent is unique, because this year professional service marines, not reservists have arrived. We plan to conduct a complex training — manoeuvre of the infantry company on the move with battle shooting that is supported by mortar/artillery, sniper, antitank and close air support. Therefore the command level of the training must link the necessary and the available resources with the actual situation of the battle. This will be a valuable experience and major challenge therefore I hope that in this training we will learn a lot both from our activities and benefit from our US colleagues,” commander informs.
“In the first four days soldiers will learn theory and analyse tactical situations theoretically, and will get ready for the field training that will take place from 22 until 25 April. It is not planned that there will be large-scale or more specific shooting than on daily basis,” Lieutenant Colonel Gunārs Kauliņš explains, adding that combat training will take place only during the light hours of the day — from 8:00 AM to 07:00 PM therefore the peace of locals will not be disturbed at the night.
He also stresses that this training requires a lot of coordination, especially in terms of security aspects among various units and sub-units — infantry, artillery, mortars, antitank, aviation, snipers, and engineers.
The commander of the training wishes each participant to present a professional and positive attitude, to improve the professional skills and learn from US colleagues. He adds: “This is one of the times when high level forces have been involved in training at the Ādaži Training Area. I will be very satisfied if after this training US soldiers will say — we want to return here and to develop the scenario of this training further on together with Latvian soldiers so that next year we would raise the bar even higher thereby making a small, but still — a step forward…”
The Black Sea Rotational Force 13 is located in Romania. The unit, which consists of 300 US marines, provides support in terms of the development in the field of defence to local security forces in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions by regularly participating in joint training, improving the ability of over 20 countries of the referred to region to react on emergency situations.
The Operation Summer Shield is an annual training, which this year will be organised for the tenth time.