Rotational deployments of U.S. forces in Lithuania and the Baltics continue: a new rotation sent by the U.S. Army, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, has already deployed to the Lithuanian Armed Forces Gen S. Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė and prepared for exercises. They replace the 2nd Brigade, 69th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, U.S. Army, which were training in Lithuania from September. The most recent U.S. heavy battalion is planned to carry out training in Lithuania for around 8 months, until the end of summer.
“The U.S. is the key transatlantic ally of Lithuania, its contribution to the efforts to enhance deterrence and defence throughout the region is indispensable. The U.S. military presence in Lithuania alongside NATO forces strengthens the security of the entire eastern flank of NATO, therefore Lithuania makes every effort to create proper conditions for allied rotation in Lithuania,” Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas says. According to Minister, Lithuania seeks to be considered for a permanent U.S. military presence destination, therefore investments are made in infrastructure and creation of good hosting conditions for deployed allies. “We are prepared to host U.S forces and provide all conditions they need to carry on with training cycles and completion of tasks,” A. Anušauskas underscores. “Joint training of Lithuanian and U.S. forces in Lithuania improves cohesion with allied troops beyond doubt.”
Ambassador of the United States in Lithuania HE Robert Gilchrist says that the United States thanks Lithuania for substantial defence investments and unceasing modernisation of training infrastructure which enables training and improvement of interaction and combat readiness of Lithuanian and U.S. forces.
The U.S. troops deployed from their home base at Fort Hood, Texas, with their own weaponry and equipment: Abrams tanks, Bradley armoured IFVs, etc. They have already begun cooperation activities with soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group. The U.S. rotation is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jackowski.
The U.S. military personnel will strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety requirements to prevent the spread. According to Lt Col S. Jackowski, safety of the soldiers and the communities they are deploying to is the most important priority.
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.
The United States makes significant investments in adaptation of Lithuanian military areas to military needs, aside from other areas of cooperation, as part of security assistance programmes. Several projects have been already completed on U.S. funds at Pabradė, Rukla, Kazlų Rūda, such as firing ranges, maintenance capability, other training and area upkeep infrastructure. Lithuania is expanding training areas and improving infrastructure to provide the best training conditions possible and facilitate interaction on its behalf as well. Additional investments are made into areas that improve military mobility: e.g., the new railhead of Pabradė-Pažeimenė railway line near Pabradė opened in spring this year improves conditions of deploying military vehicles and equipment of NATO allies. It was first tested out for redeploying military equipment by an outgoing U.S. rotation.
Photo credits: 2-8 Cavalry Squadron
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