4,000 soldiers from 11 NATO to take part at Iron Sword 2016 exercise in Lithuania

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Corinna Baltos
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Nearly 4,000 Soldiers from 11 NATO countries are in Lithuania to take part in Exercise Iron Sword 2016, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 3.

That was reported by www.army.mil.

Iron Sword is a Lithuanian led exercise designed to train and evaluate the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Brigade (Iron Wolf) Brigade, and the Motorized Infantry Brigade (Zemaitija); as well as promote regional stability and security, while strengthening partnership capacity, and fostering trust while improving interoperability between Lithuania, the U.S., and NATO member nations. It will take place at two locations in Lithuania, the General Silvestras Zukauskas training area in Pabrade and the Gaiziunai training area in Rukla.

“There are challenges for the armed forces waiting ahead that we do not know of today,” said Brig. Gen. Valdemaras Rupsys, commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces. “Therefore, the ability to adapt to a new situation swiftly is vital, and troops and headquarters have to be prepared for that. A quick and efficient response to all units in the area to conventional threats is one of the main objectives of the exercise.”

The U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat (Airborne) is one of the NATO countries participating in the exercise, which will consist of joint airborne operations, defensive and offensive operations, tactical movements, and combat support. The other NATO countries participating are: Estonia, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Germany.

Capt. Anthony Formica, commander of Able Company, 503rd Inf. Regt, said that there were two objectives his unit was trying to achieve by participating in the exercise.

“The overreaching objective here is to have secured communication amongst all of our multinational partners, without using liaison officers,” said Formica. “This has, until very recently, been difficult for NATO forces to achieve. However, Iron Sword will prove the concept and highlight the capability.”

Formica also said that during the exercise, his unit will be part of a multi-national battalion, and that he hopes to be able to highlight the capabilities of his infantry company, while demonstrating how much more effective they are when combined together in a joint force.

“We are strong. Exercises are excellent opportunities to demonstrate our best abilities,” said Lithuanian Col. Dailus Polekauskas. “By sharing our experiences and learning from each other, we are becoming stronger. I want Iron Sword to be a serious challenge for all the participants.

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