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May 7 2021

COMMANDER tours Estonia

SZCZECIN, Poland - On 6-8 May, LTG Sławomir Wojciechowski, Commander Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE), visited Estonia where he met with regional stakeholders, Allies and the Corps' subordinates. Additionally, he observed Swift Response 2021, an exercise directed by U.S. Army Europe and Africa currently unfolding across NATO's south and north, including Estonia.

Upon his stay in Estonia, the MNC NE Commander talked with LTG Martin Herem, Commander Estonian Defence Forces, and MG Indrek Sirel, Deputy Commander Estonian Defence Forces. LTG Wojciechowski emphasized that the relationship between the Corps and the Estonian Allies continued to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence along its north-eastern borders:

The Estonian Defence Forces are our much-valued partner and a driving force in maintaining stability across the Baltic. Our long-standing cooperation will continue to advance security throughout the region.

While in Estonia, the General visited MNC NE's subordinate formations. He appreciated the opportunity to speak with NATO Force Integration Unit Estonia (NFIU EST) personnel led by COL Mart Vendla of the Estonian Army. "Your competence and sterling work across Estonia are a testament to the successful advancement of regional stability," LTG Wojciechowski stated. Activated in 2015, NFIU EST is part of NATO's permanent presence in the Baltic region. Their main mission has been focused on facilitating the rapid deployment of Allied forces to Estonia, supporting collective defence planning, and assisting in training and exercise coordination. At the same time, NFIU EST acts as the main link between the host nation and all Allied troops, whether as part of NATO or other defence arrangements.

You have set a high standard of how to assist our Allies, the Commander summarized.

Additionally, the delegation met with the U.K.-helmed enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Estonia headquarters' staff, including their outgoing commanding officer, COL Paul Clayton, and the incoming commander, COL Dai Bevan (both of the British Army). The General stressed that the eFP was a joint endeavour. He appreciated the contributing nations' involvement and the professionalism of the host nations' brigades whose principal task is to integrate the Battle Groups into national forces' structures. The system braced by MNC NE's two multinational divisions remains the bedrock of NATO's collective pledge to the region. "As we strengthen the enhanced Forward Presence capacity, I wish to thank the eFP command for their ironclad commitment to expanding NATO's deterrence and defence," LTG Wojciechowski said.

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LTG Wojciechowski (COM MNC NE) and COL Vendla (COM NFIU EST) in Tallinn / Photo by Cpl. Heiko Mueller
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MNC NE delegation and Baltic Defence College leadership within the College premises in Tartu / Photo by Cpl. Heiko Mueller

Of particular importance were the General's visits to the Tartu-based Baltic Defence College and the Tallinn-based International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS). LTG Wojciechowski underscored that the College was a place where staff of many military specialties were being forged, yet with a central regional focus. "You shape the path for the future by developing thorough leaders. Our cooperation facilitates mutual understanding of the region—across and beyond it—and contributes to regional coherence," he stated. Similarly, the Commander expressed his gratitude towards the ICDS personnel and emphasized that their knowledge heightened the Corps' situational awareness: "I am proud to see our institutions boost ties and cooperation. I highly appreciate your expertise and detailed insight into the complexities of the Baltic security."

The tour culminated with the Commander visiting the site of exercise Swift Response 21. This multinational training event led by U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) takes places at various locations across Europe and involves airborne operations in Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania. It is conducted as part of the U.S.-directed Defender Europe 21. While on location, LTG Wojciechowski met with GEN Christopher Cavoli, Commander USAREUR-AF. It was emphasized that the common goals of MNC NE and USAREUR-AF yielded an effective and cooperative relationship. At the conclusion of the event, LTG Wojciechowski stated:

The U.S. commitment to the Baltics is of special prominence. Bound by shared values, MNC NE and our U.S. Allies act in a collective effort to deter malign activities and ensure security across the region. Our strong partnership bolsters NATO.
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U.S. Army Sgt. Skylar Rosekrans, a Multiple Launch Rocket System crew member with Bravo Battery, 1st Bn, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, loads a U.K. 70 mm reduced range practice rocket in preparation for a live fire exercise / Photo by  Sgt. 1st Class Jefferson VanWey
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Americans and British Paratroopers from the 2nd Parachute Regiment are making their final preparations for Swift Response 2021 / Photo by U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
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U.S. Army Soldiers from B Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, and United Kingdom soldiers from the Royal Horse Artillery conduct a Multiple Launch Rocket System live fire exercise / Photo by  Sgt. 1st Class Jefferson VanWey
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GEN Cavoli (COM USAREUR-AF) and LTG Wojchiechowski (COM MNC NE) in Tallinn / Photo by Cpl. Heiko Mueller

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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