HomeNewsArticle Display

NATO partners close out Saber Strike 16

A U.S. Army Soldier holds the U.S. flag during a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A U.S. Army Soldier holds the U.S. flag during a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Estonian soldiers present the colors during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Estonian soldiers present the colors during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Blake Ortner, 29th Infantry Division commander,   speaks during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Blake Ortner, 29th Infantry Division commander, speaks during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Estonian soldiers present the colors during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Estonian soldiers present the colors during the closing ceremony for Saber Strike 16 at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

NATO service members stand in formation during a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

NATO service members stand in formation during a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Taavi Roivas, Estonian prime minister, thanks NATO allies for their hard work during  Saber Strike 16 at a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

Taavi Roivas, Estonian prime minister, thanks NATO allies for their hard work during Saber Strike 16 at a closing ceremony at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, June 21, 2016. U.S. forces in Europe participated in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise focused on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia, June 13, 2016.  U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  Our presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet our NATO commitment to respond to threats against our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia, June 13, 2016. U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. Our presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet our NATO commitment to respond to threats against our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

An A-10C Thunderbolt II from the 107 th Fighter Squadron, flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia, June 13, 2016.  U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  The U.S. presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet our NATO commitment to respond to threats against our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

An A-10C Thunderbolt II from the 107 th Fighter Squadron, flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia, June 13, 2016. U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. The U.S. presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet our NATO commitment to respond to threats against our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

An AH-64A Apache flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia June 13, 2016.  U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. Saber Strike rapidly deploys personnel across the Baltic region, ensuring allied and partnered nations are able to quickly assemble and train anywhere they are called to do so. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

An AH-64A Apache flies over Adazi Military Training Base, Latvia June 13, 2016. U.S. forces and NATO partners are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. Saber Strike rapidly deploys personnel across the Baltic region, ensuring allied and partnered nations are able to quickly assemble and train anywhere they are called to do so. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A C-130J Super Hercules is parked before take-off June 10, 2016, at Riga Airport, Latvia.  U.S. forces are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 14

A C-130J Super Hercules is parked before take-off June 10, 2016, at Riga Airport, Latvia. U.S. forces are in Europe participating in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. The United States has enduring interests in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe and bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to global security. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Asselin, 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight chief, unloads equipment from an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016.  U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise taking place throughout Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 14

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Asselin, 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight chief, unloads equipment from an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016. U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise taking place throughout Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots assigned to the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, walk on the flightline after landing at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016.  U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners and improve joint-operational capability in a variety of missions to prepare the participating nations and units for the future.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 14

A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots assigned to the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, walk on the flightline after landing at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016. U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners and improve joint-operational capability in a variety of missions to prepare the participating nations and units for the future. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A pilot from the 107th Fighter Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016. U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 14

A pilot from the 107th Fighter Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016. U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen will participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

A crew chief guides an A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot into parking position at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016.  Members of the 107th Fighter Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan join other U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen to participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 14

A crew chief guides an A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot into parking position at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia June 11, 2016. Members of the 107th Fighter Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan join other U.S. armed forces and Latvian airmen to participate in Saber Strike 16; a long-standing, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative-training exercise, which has been conducted annually since 2010. This year’s exercise will focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nicole Keim)

TAPA TRAINING BASE --

More than 200 NATO service members gathered at Tapa Training Base, Estonia, for the closing ceremony of Saber Strike 16 June 21.

 

U.S. service members were only one component of the large-scale theater security-cooperation exercise that began June 12.

 

Participating nations included Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, United Kingdom and the U.S.

 

The exercise was held in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, facilitated cooperation among NATO allies and improved joint-operational capability across a range of missions to prepare the 13 participating nations to support multinational-contingency operations around the world.

                                                                                                                                            

During the ceremony, leaders spoke about the efforts put forth by all who participated and thanked one another for the unified partnership that made the exercise a success.

 

“It is great to see all of you service members from so many different nations,” said Taavi Roivas, Estonian prime minister. “It is also great to see that all of our nations are working together as one and that Saber Strike 16 was a great success.”

 

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Blake Ortner, 29th Infantry Division commander and SbS 16  co-exercise director,  shared his thoughts on the events.

 

“The most important thing that’s built during these exercises are the trusted relationships,” said Ortner. “You can’t schedule, plan or order that. Those trusted relationships are what make us truly strong as an alliance and also as a bilateral team with whatever nation we are working with.”

 

SbS16 also featured the integration of U.S. close-air support with allied and partner-nation ground forces and testing of U.S. air and naval deployment of forces and equipment.

 

“The most impressive part of the exercise was the integration of the B-52 strategic bomber in a close-air support role as well as the A-10s that were used in as well as live fires,” said Ortner. “For the first time in 32 years the A-10s did an austere landing along a highway, here in Estonia.”

SbS 16 went off without a hitch because of the hard work of partnered nations that sometimes endured obstacles to accomplish the mission.

 

“Shared sacrifice has a benefit all of its own,” said Ortner. “When you have [servicemembers] out there living together, sweating, stressed out, getting rained on]and living through those conditions, real unity and trust are built.”

 

Exercise Saber Strike is just one way the U.S. and allies improve the relationships built over the past 70 years, and continues to provide strategic access critical to meet the NATO commitment to respond to threats against allies and partners.