NATO Allies and partners from across the globe came together to support and participate with NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group Latvia to increase cooperation, compatibility and interoperability in the event of a real-world fight against any foreign aggressors who would threaten Latvia’s boarders.
Though the scenario might seem simple as battle plans are created, challenges were faced by the Allies and partners. “The terrain here is very soft,” said U.S. Sgt. Elijah White, a tank commander assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “We drop track all the time. This is one of the hardest places to train with tanks in my opinion.”
Terrain was not the only challenges faced. Throughout the eight days, soldiers experienced all four seasons of Latvian weather to include rain, snow and freezing temperatures. “It is pretty cold here and we are not accustomed to it in Spain. I think we did pretty well” said 1st Lt. Aurelio Montero, a tank commander assigned to the Spanish Army.
The exercise tested Montero and White’s crews to operate across a battlefield to overcome objectives and defend the objective after taking control of it. While the two tank commanders sat on opposing sides of the battlefield, they had common goals. Those goals included testing partner nations abilities to communicate with each other despite language barriers, identify any weaknesses and reinforce their commitment to NATO Allies and Partners.
Crystal Arrow 21, Photo by 1st Sgt. G. Indrēvics, Sgt. Ē. Kukutis, Latvian Army