Commander of Estonian Defense Forces opens Exercise Saber Strike

June 13, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Saber Strike 2012

Soldiers from all the participating nations, stand together in formation prior to the opening ceremony for exercise Saber Strike 2012 in Tapa, Estonia, June 11. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led theater security cooperation exercise in the Baltic States. One of the major goals of the exercise is to improve NATO interoperability and strengthen the relationships among military forces of the U.S., Baltic nations and other participating nations. (Photo by Master Sgt. Ardi Hallismaa, Estonian Defence Forces)


TAPA, Estonia – The commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Brig. Gen. Riho Terras and acting Saber Strike co-director, US Army Col. Russell Holscher, formally opened Exercise Saber Strike 2012 with a ceremony in Tapa Estonia, site of the headquarters of the exercise.

“I must say that it does not really matter if the world means the deserts of Helmand or the woods and marshlands of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We, the soldiers must be ready to face any threat, any challenge and any adversary,” said Terras in his opening ceremony remarks. He stressed that, in the modern world, there is no alternative to cooperation, and this exercise is a good example of how nations can cooperate with each other. The goal of the exercise is a serious desire to make the world a better place.

Holscher stressed that in the two-week long exercise, participating officers and units will learn from each other. They will learn how to work together, understand how the other thinks and how to lead multinational, multi-unit operations.

“You will work together, learn from each other and get to know each other,“ said Holscher. “This will help bring the exercise to a successful conclusion.“

Saber Strike 12 is a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise scheduled to run from June 11- 22 at multiple training areas in Estonia and Latvia. The exercise, which has approximately 2000 participants, promotes regional stability and security, strengthens international military partnering and fosters trust while improving interoperability between participating nations.

At the Tapa Army Base, military personnel from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United States, Canada, France and Great Britain are stationed for the duration of the exercise.

The Saber Strike Combined Joint Task Force is located in Tapa for the exercise, while at Camp Adazi, Latvia, units from participating nations will be conducting field training exercises. For the exercise, US Air Force A-10 attack planes and KC-135 tanker aircraft from the Michigan Air National Guard is based out of Ämari Air Force Base, Estonia.

Exercise Saber Strike, which will last from June 11 to 23, is one of three multinational military exercises that Estonia will host this June. From June 3 to 22, the US Marine Corps will exercise the offloading of shipborne military vehicles and supplies with Estonian military personnel. Near the end of June, Exercise Baltic Host will take place, This is a staff exercise involving Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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