ADAZI, Latvia – Saturday 4th December, saw the end of Winter Shield 2021, an annual exercise led by Latvian forces involved Allies with the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade (Sauszemes spēku Mehanizētā kājnieku brigāde), NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Latvia and the U.S. 1st Infantry Division.
During the exercise, soldiers of the Latvian Mechanized Brigade conducted a tactical combat shooting while eFP Battlegroup Latvia's infantry and engineer companies conducted opposed water crossing and demolition exercises alongside US and Latvian troops.
The aim was to demonstrate readiness and interoperability of NATO troops when responding to military threats in the Baltic region. The cooperation with the units and partners was key in the learning process of the training and not even the snowy weather interrupted the task.
Exercise Winter Shield 2021 provided ready and postured, combat-credible forces through multinational training and security cooperation activities.
Lieutenant Colonel John Benson, Commander of NATO eFP Battlegroup Latvia, commented on the many achievements of Winter Shield 2021:
"This exercise in an outstanding opportunity for us to really demonstrate the interoperability we have; to be able to take Latvians, Americans, Czechs, Spanish and many others that all work together."
On 16th December, Command of NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia passed from Lieutenant-Colonel John Benson to Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Richel in a transfer of command authority ceremony at Camp Adazi, in Latvia.
During the ceremony, Liutenant-Colonel Benson, on behalf of eFP Latvia, presented a donation of 5,000 euros to Valsts aizsardzības un patriotisma fonds "Namejs", in support of veterans who have served in the Latvian National Armed Forces and their families.
SZCZECIN, Poland - From the beginning of December 2021, Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC-NE) has a new Chief of Staff: Brigadier General Bogdan Rycerski. He has taken over from Brigadier General Wolf-Jürgen Stahl, who has been committed to this role for almost 40 months.
Brigadier General Rycerski was the Commander of Polish 15th Mech Brigade, 15 Giżycka Brygada Zmechanizowana, responsible for integration of NATO eFP troops into the Polish Army.
1st to 3rd December, saw the 5th Annual MNC-NE Commander's Conference, a two-day symposium where key leaders from across the Multinational Corps Northeast and Allies discussed ways of furthering cooperation in the region.
Liutenant General Jürgen-Joachim von Sandrart, Commander MNC-NE and chair of the Conference emphasized the importance of collaborative actions in ensuring the Baltic region's security, and of training and exercise to increase regional synergy and coherence.
Here are his thoughts on the outcomes of the Conference:
"I believe events like this can greatly facilitate our common understanding of credible deterrence and, if need be, collective defence in the Baltic Sea region. No one is an expert on their own. It is all about the team effort."
BEMOWO PISKIE, Poland – From 29th November to 11th December, 3-161 Infantry Dark Rifles at Battle Group Poland hosted for the first time a command post exercise: RIFLE FOCUS II. NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Lithuania and 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment were invited to join in an unprecedented multinational training event.
The aims during this exercise, where a simulation software was used to virtually display the different units and assets, were to test the troops on their strategies, capabilities and decisions.
At the end of every day, each battlegroup compared each other's actions in order to learn from each other and, doing so, improve together, to be stronger together.