Lithuanian and US Military Personnel Train Together at Kairiai
A week of conducting joint military training actions for the Reconnaissance Company of the Motorised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”, personnel of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the US Marine Corps Black Sea Rotational Force (BSRF) at the Kairiai Training Area of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Motorised Infantry Battalion (Klaipeda) has nearly ended.
Troops improved their skills of precision shooting, assault in built-up area, first medical aid and evacuation, base instalment, obstacle breaching and mine neutralisation. The phase served as a run-up for the main day of the Exercise – a debarkation operation which will be held on June 11 in Lithuania, Nemirseta, Palangos Distr.
According to Pte 1st Class Pavel Kulak, Leader of the Reconnaissance Section of the Algirdas Battalion, Lithuanian troops will draw experience from seasoned US marines through conducting building assault as well as uniform military actions. Concerted actions result in successful completion of combat tasks in multinational operations. “Tactical actions during building assault are nearly uniform, however, several elements differ and unification of such details help us display impeccable cooperate performance”, said Pte 1st Class P. Kulak.
Supervisor of the combat in built-up area training US marine Sgt Gregory Lamberson said that the training audience were quick learners and mastered assault actions immediately. He also added that the training allowed to synchronise and improve team actions of troops rather than taught them new angles of tactical techniques because Lithuanian military were professionals experienced in conducting that type of operations. “It is crucial for military personnel to drill assault actions on a yearly basis to be able to apply them instinctively in multinational operations”, Sgt Lamberson added.
In another part of the training medical personnel of the US marines trained Lithuanian troops to render battlefield first medical aid and conduct medical airlift. To simulate conditions as close to real life as possible US troops created a stressful situation: gave strict orders to the training audience, indicated to perform demanding physical activities and save an injured colleague in a battlefield without suffering any more casualties. “Troops must know in advance that in a stressful battlefield situation many things are happening simultaneously but they have to leave aside any distracting thoughts and provide first medical aid for a badly bleeding friend despite screams, bullets flying by and a rush of adrenalin,” told US marine Sgt Ryan Boze, battlefield first aid specialist.
The abilities to deliver precision fire and proper handling of weapon are basically the key skills a modern soldier should have to survive in a battlefield. In one of the training points US marines trained their Lithuanian counterparts to fire FN-MAG light rifles and G-36 machine guns. “US marines a greatly experienced in combat situations so they can teach us plenty of useful techniques. Our colleagues from the USA have demonstrated live firing drills they do: taking a position, holding a weapon, moving safely in the area, while Lithuanian military tried to follow as closely as possible and then we analysed the mistakes we had made and repeated unsuccessful tasks,” Sgt 1st Class Edvardas Sazekis, Company Sergeant Major of the IInd Company of the Algirdas Battalion.
At the engineer site of the Training Area troops trained to install a camp, breach obstacles, conduct counter-IED actions and mine neutralisation. At this point US marines were joined by EOD specialists of Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion who shared their experience with the allies. “Lithuanian troops are really receptive and master new tactical actions at a great pace,” Sgt Pablo Zepeda Martinez, US marine and chief instructor of the engineer training, underlined. US Sergeant also added that the US marines learn much from the Exercise as well because they have an opportunity to train in a multinational environment.
“This joint Exercise with the US marines will give all the participants valuable knowledge and experience which will be useful in the future in multinational deployments or combat actions,” asserted unanimously Lithuanian troops involved in BALTOPS 2012.
BALTOPS 2012 which will conclude on June 16 involves 12 countries - USA, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Georgia, Russia, and Sweden. The Exercise is held in the territorial waters of Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia in the Baltic Sea. In total 27 warships, 30 aircrafts, and components of ground forces conduct operations in BALTOPS 2012.
Multinational cooperation in case of a crisis in the region is enhanced and security in the Baltic Sea region fostered in BALTOPS 2012. During the Exercise military forces will conduct joint maritime operations from manoeuvring and patrolling to joint operations with other forces - air and land.
USA first organised the naval exercise BALTOPS in 1972. Since 1993 the series has been held under the Partnership for Peace program. Over four decades BALTOPS grew both in number of participating forces and in magnitude becoming one of the largest training events in the Baltic Region. Lithuania has been sending naval assets to take part in BALTOPS since 1994 and this year will host the Exercise on its soil for the first time.
Source: 10 June 2012 - Ministry of National Defense (Lithuania) News
Photo: A Lithuanian helicopter lands aboard Military Sealift Command command ship USS Mount Whitney as part of exercise Jackal Stone 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Sylvia Nealy)