U.S., Baltic forces conclude Saber Strike exercise

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Oct. 29, 2010

ADAZI TRAINING AREA, Latvia -- The multinational training exercise Saber Strike 2011 marked its conclusion with a closing ceremony here, Oct. 29. The 12-day exercise trained forces from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 56th Stryker Brigade and U.S. Army Europe units, including the 172nd Infantry Brigade and 16th Sustainment Brigade.

“Saber Strike has been an outstanding success,” said Col. Keith Sledd, commander of USAREUR's 16th Sustainment Brigade and co-director of Saber Strike 2011. “The exercise has been a tremendous opportunity for us all to share and work together and to learn from one another.”

“I am sure that you are leaving Adazi with a better understanding of each other, better prepared, and if and when you meet in the fields of Afghanistan or any other place … you will understand each other better, you will be ready to work together,” said Jānis Sārts, state secretary for the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia.

“There’s nothing more important than [the Soldier-to-Soldier relationship], because trust of your comrade with whom you are sitting in a foxhole somewhere in the [Forward Operating Base] in Kunar province in Afghanistan actually starts here,” said Col. Igors Rajevs, the Latvian exercise co-director. “That’s how you build the trust between the different nations and the Soldiers of the different nations, trust and respect.”

Saber Strike 11 is the first of a series of exercises scheduled to be conducted in the Baltic states over the next three years, beginning in Estonia next  year and culminating in 2013 in Lithuania.