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May 10 2021

Swift Response 21 kicks off in Estonia

SZCZECIN, Poland - In the early morning hours of May 8, nearly 800 U.S. and U.K. paratroopers descended on the Nurmsi Drop Zone in Estonia to conduct a Joint Forcible Entry for exercise Swift Response 21. The operation was observed by a great many Allies and Partners, including GEN Christopher Cavoli, Commander U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF), LTG Sławomir Wojciechowski, Commander Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE), and LTG Martin Herem, Commander Estonian Defence Forces.

In addition to the paratroopers assigned to the U.S. 82nd Airborne Brigade and the U.K. 16th Air Assault Brigade, U.S. C-17 airplanes also dropped five platforms of heavy equipment, including artillery and vehicles. Swift Response 21 is a linked exercise of the U.S.-directed Defender Europe 21 which involves special operations activities, air assaults, and live fire exercises in Estonia, Bulgaria, and Romania, demonstrating airborne interoperability among NATO Allies.

The operation in Nurmsi was a success, and Swift Response 21 will continue during the next week with follow-on helicopter air assault missions and live fire training at the Tapa Central Training Grounds.

The significant presence of NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast Commander LTG Sławomir Wojciechowski and U.S. Army Europe and Africa Commander GEN Christopher Cavoli demonstrates commitment and the synchronization of activities amongst NATO's MNC NE, Estonia and USAREUR-AF. The scale and scope of this exercise underscores the importance of Allied activities in the region and sends both a powerful and symbolic message,

said BG David B. Womack, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations Multinational Corps Northeast, who attended the event in Nurmsi.

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A 3rd BDE Combat Team, 82nd Airborne DIV paratrooper adjusts his T-11 parachute onboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft bound for Estonia during Swift Response 21, photo by MSG A. Burnett
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An 82nd Airborne DIV jumpmaster inspects a paratrooper onboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft bound for Estonia during Swift Response 21, Photo by MSG Alexander Burnett

Defender Europe 21, which Swift Response is linked to, is an annual large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise designed to build strategic and operational readiness while enhancing interoperability between the U.S., NATO Allies, and Partner forces in Europe. Defender Europe 21-related activities officially began in Estonia with a live-fire exercise at the Tapa Central Training Grounds on May 5. Along with the Swift Response operation in Estonia, the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division is executing two other multinational airborne operations across Europe in May. Overall, more than 7,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; 173rd Airborne Brigade, the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade, and eight other nations are supporting a series of near simultaneous Joint Forcible Entry operations into Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania respectively.

This year, more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in more than a dozen countries from the Balkans and Black Sea Region to the Baltics.

The U.S. commitment to the Baltics is of special prominence. Bound by shared values, Multinational Corps Northeast 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, said LTG Wojciechowski.
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Paratroopers assigned to 3rd BDE Combat Team, 82nd Airborne DIV wait to exit C-17 Globemaster III bound for Estonia during Swift Response 21, Photo by MSG Alexander Burnett
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A jumpmaster assigned to 3rd BDE Combat Team, 82nd Airborne DIV gives the 10-minute command to paratroopers onboard a C-17 Globemaster III bound for Estonia during Swift Response 21, Photo by MSG Alexander Burnett
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Distinguished Visitors Day in Nurmsi during Swift Response 21, Photo by PTE Kaimar Tauri Tamm
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From the left: LTG Herem (CHOD EST), GEN Cavoli (COM USAREUR-AF) and LTG Wojciechowski (COM MNC NE) in Nurmsi during Swift Response 21, Photo by CPL Heiko Mueller
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Kersti Kaljulaid (President of Estonia) and GEN Cavoli (COM USAREUR-AF) in Nurmsi during Swift Response 21, Photo by PTE Kaimar Tauri Tamm

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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