NATO Partners Conclude Shamrock Key Exercise
American Forces Press Service
RIGA, Latvia, May 4, 2006 Special forces operators from the U.S., Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Norway concluded exercise Shamrock Key 2006 here April 27.
The annual two-week exercise provided an opportunity for European-based NATO special operations forces to train together with local forces in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The training consisted of a series of joint military exercises conducted among theater security cooperation partners in the Baltic region of Europe.
"The U.S. military is here to train with the armed forces of Latvia, Norway, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia, to strengthen our interoperability and our mutual ability to protect our people," said Maj. Gen. Thomas Csrnko, Special Operations Command Europe commander.
"The reason we have a coalition is to ensure that our nations continue to develop our capacity to work together and further enhance our ability to protect our borders from terrorism."
"We trained on an extensive range of skills, to include airborne operations, ground combat, security operations, small-unit tactics, land navigation, marksmanship and the law of land warfare," Csrnko added.
"Exercises like these are a time-tested way to ensure familiarization and seamless coordination between forces," said Aldona Wos, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, and Kalle Lannet, Estonian Minister of the Interior, in a joint a statement.
"Because of rapid changes in the strategic environment, it's crucial for all NATO coalition forces to anticipate these changes," he said. "Future contingencies are rapidly evolving; therefore, the focus must be concentrated on winning the war against terrorism through adaptability and flexibility."
The training ensures participating military forces continue to develop strong partnerships and enhance each other's capabilities to conduct operations effectively and safely when called on.
Contributing countries benefited by executing the plan, exercising command and control, and implementing communications systems to support coalition operations.
"We are bound much more by our similarities and goals than by our differences," Csrnko said. "The differences we do have are important areas that encourage discussion, an aggressive exchange of ideas and professional growth. This has been a great experience, a valuable exercise, and I hope we can continue to learn from each other in the future."
(Compiled by Jaime L. Wood, who works in U.S. European Command Public Affairs Office.)