VILNIUS - On 29 May, the largest special operations forces Exercise Flaming Sword 2015 held in the Baltic Region this year was declared closed, Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence said.
The three-week exercise organised by the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces focused on interoperability and coordination between allied units thus enhancing and ensuring security of Lithuania and the Baltic Region. Lithuanian soldiers trained in the exercise alongside Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, US, Norwegian, Swedish special forces personnel.
“This exercise has demonstrated an excellent interoperability between Lithuanian and foreign military personnel. I have once again been reassured of high-level skills of our forces. I am very delighted that our special operations forces soldiers are considered to be true professionals by all Allies,” Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said.
“This exercise organised by the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces is a message that soldiers of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, allied forces, other services of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, state authorities, representatives of city councils and patriotic society are a team when it comes to enhancing security of Lithuania and the Baltic Region,” Commander of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces Col Modestas Petrauskas said.
Chief of Defence of Latvia Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube also expressed his delight about combined training of NATO member states and partner countries which allowed learning from one another. “Special forces units have a great opportunity to train together and share experience, in particular with the modern-day security environment, the fight against terrorism and hybrid threats, in mind. This rapidly changing world requires well-trained troops that are able to give a quick and precise response to different crises. Flaming Sword 2015 gives perfect conditions for preparing for such threats in the Baltic countries while ensuring interoperability at the same time,” Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Graube said.
The exercise was also observed by Commander of Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) Major General Gregory J. Lengyel. “I am absolutely amazed at this exercise. Representatives of all the participating nations should be really proud of all this hard work done while conducting and arranging the exercise. Lithuania directed this international event impeccably. The training soldiers have not only improved their relationships and enhanced interoperability but also invoked state authorities thus involving everybody in in enhancing not only state but also regional security,” Major General G. J. Lengyel said after exercise.
The exercise trained soldiers of different nations to give an immediate response to a crisis situation before Article 5 (collective defence) is activated and operations are carried out on the basis of a separate agreement of nations. Special forces personnel of Lithuania and NATO member and partner states with substantial combat experience formed special operations teams for exercise purposes in composition of which they operated together and shared experience. They were planning and executing complex non-standard land, naval and air operations requiring special training to identify, detain or neutralise the enemy thus preventing further escalation of a crisis or disrupting invasion of enemy forces and clearing the way for deployment of follow-on allied forces. Command for the special forces teams was provided by the Joint Operations Centre of the Special Operations Force Component HQ.