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Aug 21 2020

Week 34 Northern Europe Operational Update

BRUNSSUM, the Netherlands – This week, in enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Lithuania, medical personnel from four NATO allies, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Norway, enhanced their knowledge of medical equipment and vehicles of the respective partners in a multinational exercise.

Amongst other issues, medics trained patient loading and offloading onto and off the different armoured military ambulances used in the battlegroup; critically important knowledge in case of a medical emergency/evacuation. Such training is conducted on regular basis and helps strengthen multinational teamwork and cooperation in the field of medical care. Thereby, the medics of the eFP Battlegroup prepare for their most important task – provision of the best medical care possible for all battlegroup personnel. 
We are all part of a multinational environment 
As Corporal Kristin from the Norwegian Army Medical Service put it: “It is important to learn from each other, to see the different systems we have and train to use them. We are all part of a multinational environment and have to focus on how we can work together.”

Norwegian Minehunter HNoMS Maaloey conducting historical ordnance disposal operations as part of NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1. Photo: Lithuanian Navy
Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1) has concluded its historical ordnance disposal (HOD) operation inside Norwegian fjords in the Lofoten and Tromso areas (see also JFCBS Northern Europe Operational Update Week 32). SNMCMG 1 is currently comprised of four ships: HNoMS Maaloey (Norway), ENS Admiral Cowan (Estonia), FGS Groemitz (Germany) and, the flagship, LNS Jotvingis (Lithuania). During the operation, eight historical mines from World War II were identified from amongst 147 mine-like objects.

Three mines were disposed of via controlled explosion, taking care to cause minimum environmental damage. Two mine-hunters and the flagship participated in the operation, searching an area of 16 square nautical miles. Through this operation SNMCMG 1 enhanced data about the seabed in Norwegian waters and contributed to the Norwegian-compiled historic ordnance database. By disposing of the sea mines, the Group made the sea a safer place for fishermen, merchant shipping, underwater operations and civilian installations. Although the mines were no longer active they still posed a threat as they could accidentally be triggered by an anchor, divers or other operations on the seabed.

SNMCMG 1 is one of four standing NATO forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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