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Apr 22 2021

NATO's eFP Battle Group Latvia trains with US Allies

LIELVARDE, Latvia - Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, banded together with Canadian Land Force task force from NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia to execute joint-force exercise Berserker Soaring on April 15 in Lielvarde, Latvia.

The enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group is one of four defensive, multinational NATO coalitions positioned in the Baltics to deter aggression and promote peace and security throughout the region.

"This training opportunity allowed us to integrate with the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group-Latvia by providing world-class aviation capabilities and expanding the scope and mobility of their ground operations; reassuring our NATO Allies of our unwavering support and building the interoperability between our militaries," said Capt. Kevin Harris, Assistant Battalion Operations Officer, 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

The Battalion's aerial assets include UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters that can perform a full spectrum of aviation operations, everything from air assault insertions, medical evacuations, and heavy-lift transportations.

This exercise represented a tactical and strategic success in the Baltic Region, 

said Maj. Yannick Hart, Commander Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. "Tactically Berserker Company, enabled with Spanish and Italian attachments, were able to showcase our flexibility as a Mechanized Infantry Company by shifting our normal tactical operations to an air mobile context. Strategically elements of Battle Group Latvia and our US counterparts seamlessly integrated into a Air Assault Task Force, conducted a realistic air mission planning process and executed an air mobile dismounted operation and fostered a relationship between the two units for future deployed operations and training objectives," he added.

Another primary objective for the exercise was establishing radio communications between each nation and ensuring they can communicate throughout the battlefield.

"We were able to establish secure communication systems across the board between both forces, which demonstrates our ability of enhancing the relationship between our soldiers and our Allies tactically," said Lt. Col. Raymond Santiago battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. "This exercise has made NATO a more lethal force and we look forward to continuously working alongside our Allies and European partners to enhance our capabilities and lethality," Lt. Col. Santiago concluded.

The Battalion is presently deployed to Europe as part of U.S. Army Europe-Africa's Atlantic Resolve, with units in several nations training alongside Allies and partners to demonstrate the United States' commitment to peace and stability in the region.
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Canadian soldiers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized BDE Group, set up security in the early morning hours of April 16, Lielvarde, Latvia / Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho, eFP Latvia/Spanish Army
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U.S. Army Blackhawks with 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation BDE, 1st Infantry DIV, arrive at landing zones to insert Canadian soldiers of Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized BDE Group, keeps watch in the early morning hours of April 16, Lielvarde, Latvia / Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho, eFP Latvia/Spanish Army        
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A Canadian soldier from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized BDE Group, radios directions to a landing zone in the early morning hours of April 16, Lielvarde, Latvia / Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho, eFP Latvia/Spanish Army
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Canadian soldiers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized BDE Group, keep watch in the early morning hours of April 16, Lielvarde, Latvia / Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho, eFP Latvia/Spanish Army          
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A U.S. Army Blackhawk lands and dismounts Canadian soldiers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized BDE Group, in the early morning hours of April 16, Lielvarde, Latvia / Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho, eFP Latvia/Spanish Army

Story by Capt. Billy Lacroix, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army

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