Deployed in Rukla, Lithuania, the eVA Brigade’s Forward Command Element is formed by the German Army 41. Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Vorpommern”, whose selected service members are stationed in Rukla on the permanent basis. For Thunder Storm, they were reinforced by the additional personnel from the 41. Brigade’s headquarters in Neubrandenburg and the assigned German soldiers who are currently deployed with NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania. Additionally, in attendance were representatives from the Lithuanian Army “Geležinis Vilkas” and “Žemaitija” brigades.
While summarising the exercise, Lieutenant Colonel Sebastian Süß, the Commander of the eVA Brigade’s Forward Command Element, stated: "I witnessed high motivation. The Brigade’s soldiers rose up to the new challenge in a completely new framework, side by side with the Lithuanian partners. Considering it was the first time we cooperated so closely in such a classified environment, we achieved a remarkable result."
Together, we have made an important contribution to Lithuania's defence readiness.
In September 2022, the German troops made up the command unit of a new brigade, increasing NATO’s presence on the Alliance’s eastern flank. Süß is convinced that this German-Lithuanian cooperation will make a beneficial impact on the regional security: "Since the beginning of our tour of duty, we have taken every opportunity to further deepen cooperation with our Baltic Allies, and it has clearly paid off just a few months later. We are looking forward to many more joint exercises in 2023."