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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

United States Marine Corps

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
BSRF Marines, NATO Allies take on Summer Shield

By Cpl. Sean Berry | Marine Corps Forces Europe | April 27, 2017

U.S Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 17.1 along with 12 other NATO Allies completed a nearly two-week-long training event, Exercise Summer Shield aboard Adazi Military Base, Latvia, April 17-27, 2017.

“We’ve been receiving valuable training through the exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures with our partner nations out here,” said 1st Lt. Michael D. Sparks, platoon commander for Combined Anti-Armor Team 2 with BSRF. “Over the last two weeks we’ve had the opportunity to see how (other countries) do things in a similar and different manner.”

Exercise Summer Shield was designed to increase military to military interoperability between NATO Allies through various training events.
“The capabilities that my platoon brought to the exercise were the M41A1 Saber System (anti-tank missiles), with heavy machine guns to include the Mk 19 and .50 Caliber machine guns,” said Sparks. “It was a chance for us to see how they use the same or similar weapons.”

The exercise also included Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Defense training, as the Marines practiced getting into and training with their Mission- Oriented Protective Posture suits in a timely manner and in real-life situations.

“It’s good for them to know how to operate in a CBRN environment so that they’re properly prepared to face anything important,” said Lance Cpl. Alex Gier, a CBRN warfare defense specialist with the unit. “What I really like is that the Marines were prepared already from prior training they’ve had in the rear allowing them to act quickly and on point.”
For the Marines of BSRF 17.1, this is their second exercise of the deployment that allowed for combined-arms training with the NATO Allies in Europe.

“I hope people understand that Marines from their communities are working hard during Summer Shield and other exercises like this to strengthen our partnerships out here; achieving interoperability to protect our interests abroad,” said Sparks.