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October 18, official opening ceremony of multinational exercise „Sabre Strike” was held at the Training Centre of Adaži Military Area, Latvia. Troops of four countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and USA, Defence Minister of Latvia Imants Lieģis, Chief of Defence of Latvia Raimonds Graube, Commander Latvian Land Force Col Dzintars Roga, and conductor of „Sabre Strike” US Col Keith Sledd attended the event.

Defence Minister of Latvia Imants Lieģis in the ceremony delivered welcome address and wished good luck to the participating personnel. He stressed that it was the biggest exercise since the has country joined NATO. Modern world faces many challenges that require excellent preparation: the training event was of utmost importance for participating states as only joint action ensures successful implementation of set tasks.

Latvian troops participating in the training event will join NATO’s ISAF operation in Afghanistan this December. Company based on National Defence Volunteer Force Vytis Military District 5th Territorial Unit that represents Lithuania in the exercise in Latvia begins intense training course before deployment to Ghor province, Afghanistan, next autumn.

Over 1,6 thousand of military personnel from Estonia, USA, Latvia and Lithuania ar involved in the exercise. Lithuania has delegated over a hundred of soldiers to the event.

On the first week of the exercise „Sabre Strike” participants will train tasks likely to occur in ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Every day troops will deploy to training locations and refine their skills in conducting a spectrum of operations. Today, October 19, troops are engaged in convoy operations organized by instructors of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Training Battalion. Later soldiers will conduct patrolling in populated areas: control and check-post search, live-firing, base guard, etc.

On the second week of the exercise soldiers will train in an integrated exercise.

Military personnel brought a spectrum of military equipment to the exercise: combat vehicles STRYKER, all-terrain vehicles HMMWV, trucks M 1075, M-915, etc.

On October 16 Lithuanian delegation settled in the Lithuanian camp in the exercise area and began preparing for the exercise. Lithuanian and Pennsylvania National Guard troops installed the exercise camp which would provide accommodation for the majority of participants of „Sabre Strike” to live, train and prepare for potential multinational operations.

The aim of the exercise is to improve military cooperation between the Baltic States and USA in order to provide relevant training for military personnel with the prospect of deployment to ISAF mission in Afghanistan and to other multinational operations.

Baltic States will host „Sabre Strike” for the first time by proposal of the US military command. The event is planned to be held in all the three Baltic States on a rotational basis.