Troops from the Lithuanian Army conducts personnel searches with a notional insurgent during Exercise Baltic Piranha at Gaiziunai Training Area in Rukla, Lithuania, Oct. 27, 2015. Photo by: Ritchie Sedeyn, Belgian Defence Forces.
30 OCT 2015
RUKLA, LITHUANIA – Troops from Belgium, Lithuania, Luxemburg and the U.S. trained in the heart of Lithuania throughout October.
Exercise Baltic Piranha focused on joint training and continuing to build interoperability in line with NATO’s assurance measures’.
NATO is committed to peaceful resolve of conflict, but in the event diplomatic efforts fail; it has military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations.
Working in collaborative effort, the troops traversed across Gaiziunai Training Area from west to east. The exercise provided opportunity to launch operations of the Belgian Piranha infantry vehicles while Luxemburg troops operated their Dingo II reconnaissance vehicles and the U.S. provided aerial support using UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters.
“The Belgian Armed Forces are very good at incorporating aviation assets into their overall plan and scheme of what they want to do,” said Maj. Patrick Wilde, , executive officer and UH-60M pilot of the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, U.S. Army. “Working with the other NATO nations as well has been a very good experience.”
Throughout the exercise, troops conducted patrols in a civil environment and communicated with local residents.
“My battalion had six months to prepare for the Combined Arms Task Group,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gert Van Goethem, the corps commander of the Liberation Battalion – 5 Linie, of the Belgian Armed Forces. “We are a company part of the subgroup. In addition to the fighting capacity in the CATG we are also integrated support elements such as the engineers and medical assistance.”
NATO seeks to increase security through cooperation and building relationships in line with shared values, building mutual security and respecting the rights of individual nations to decide their own futures.
“Training with allied military units that deploy to Lithuania with various military equipment has become routine for Lithuanian troops,” said Major General Almantas Leika, Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force. “That enables us not only to train our military personnel but also to sustain the skills and the readiness we acquire to cooperate with various types of units from allied nations.”At the conclusion of the exercise, each nation’s military returns to their home country with new knowledge and experiences gained from the joint cooperation conducted during Exercise Baltic Piranha.
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