US Paratroopers participate in the opening ceremony of Silver Arrow exercise in Latvia

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Photo Credit: Pfc. James Dutkavich

Paratroopers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade participate in the opening ceremony events of exercise Silver Arrow October 17, 2016 in Camp Adazi, Latvia.

Silver Arrow is a two-week long Latvian led exercise, which joins foreign Armed Forces units, in order to develop relationships and leverage Allied and partner nation capabilities preserving peace through strength. The exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. lead effort being conducted in Eastern Europe to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.

Latvian Colonel Ilmars Atis Lejins, commanding general for the Latvian Land Forces, delivered his speech to the service members of the nine NATO nations that attended the opening events and will participate during the exercise, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Luxembourg, Germany, Romania, Great Britain and the United States.

“Dear participants, there must be something wrong with the weather today because we are having an exercise and it is not raining; obviously that will change. I welcome you all to Adazi,” Lejins said. “We have two weeks ahead of us, and I would like to invite you to fight ignorance, arrogance, and negligence. When we do training, we need to train, dare to make mistakes, and push ourselves to the limits. So, you come out of this exercise strong and having gained experience. Share your experiences, and the exercise will be successful. I wish you challenging days ahead.”

Shortly after the opening ceremony, Paratroopers from 173rd Airborne and other NATO airborne units, including Latvia and Germany, conducted airborne insertions from Riga International Airport, Riga, Latvia into Unity drop zone at the Camp Adazi training area using a Globemaster III C17.

Germany, Latvia and the U.S. Army awarded their jump wings to each other signifying a bond between the airborne communities. Latvian Brigadier General Ainars Ozolins, deputy chief of staff operations, spoke to the service members before handing out Latvian jump wings to U.S. and German Soldiers.

Ozolins noted the continued support and cooperation between all the different nations who jumped and supporting Silver Arrow.

Photo Credit: Pfc. James Dutkavich
Photo Credit: Pfc. James Dutkavich

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