The 2nd Brigade, 69th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, U.S. Army, has finished exercises and training in Lithuania and are going back to their home base. A new heavy U.S. battalion – 2-8 Cavalry Squadron – will rotate in instead by mid-December to stay until around midsummer of next year.
The outgoing rotation – troops of the 2nd Brigade, 69th Regiment, 2nd Battalion– were training at Pabradė military area from early September. They had exercises with Lithuanian, NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group soldiers deployed in Rukla in Lithuania over that time. The American force had their own weaponry and equipment – Abrams tanks, Bradley armoured vehicles.
“Defence cooperation between Lithuania and the U.S. stands strong and remains intense, while the U.S. battalion rotations in Lithuania reaffirm the strength of the Lithuanian-U.S. defence cooperation. U.S. presence, just like NATO presence in Lithuania, remains to be among the most critical factors in ensuring security,” acting Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says.
The U.S. Army rotations deploy as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve of the U.S. Army in the eastern part of the Alliance. It is a reassurance about the collective defence commitments to NATO allies concerning European security following the aggressive Russian actions in Ukraine. U.S. forces have been rotating in to train in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe since spring 2014.
Cooperation with NATO allies has been on a particular increase over the recent years and more joint exercises are held, therefore Lithuania expands military training areas and improves their infrastructure to ensure that both, our and allied forces are able to train effectively and serve as a deterrent. Additional investments are made to improve military mobility, for instance, a new railhead of Pažeimenė railway line near the Pabradė Training Area was unveiled this spring to facilitate deployment of NATO allies’ equipment and weaponry to Lithuania. The outgoing U.S. rotation were the first soldiers to test the facility.
The United States makes investments in adaptation of Lithuanian military areas to military needs. Several projects have been already completed on U.S. funds at Pabradė, Rukla, Kazlų Rūda, such as marksman and sniper, light infantry and heavy machine-gun, and infantry fighting vehicle firing ranges, maintenance capability, other training and area upkeep infrastructure.
Credit: Alfredas Pliadis (Lithuanian MoND)