CAMP ADAZI, Latvia --
Approximately 100 Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 13 teamed up with soldiers from the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Land Forces to execute Exercise Summer Shield 10 over the past two weeks.
“Security cooperation is integral to US national security policy, and it’s part of our mission as Marines,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Skarzynski, the Combined Anti-Armor Team platoon commander, and Bethesda, Maryland native. “Summer Shield has been a good training opportunity for my platoon, and we learned a lot from the other forces we met there.”
BSRF-13 trained with the foreign militaries on calling for fire support, such as mortars, aviation and artillery; and integrating those fire support assets with maneuver forces for a week in a classroom and virtual setting. They then took what they learned in the classroom and applied it to a live fire exercise.
"We were there as part of a exercise training the Latvians on anti-armor tactics and integrated fire tactics", said Cpl. Jason Little, a Baltimore, Maryland native and a vehicle commander with CAAT platoon. "We helped them better understand how to use a combined arms approach toward a battle scenario."
The four military forces executed a live fire scenario in which they had to successfully employ heavy machine guns while calling for a mortar team to engage a target. They also learned how to employ several types of weapon systems at one time to effectively multiple engage enemy targets. The weapon systems that were employed included: the M2 50 .cal machine gun; the M240B machine gun; and Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile (TOW) missiles utilizing the SABER optic system for target recognition.
“I was very impressed with the individual proficiencies of the Latvian Land Forces,” said Skarzynski. “I know that the Marines benefited from both the theoretical discussions played out on sand tables and whiteboards, and practical application out in the field.”
The Marines and sailors with BSRF-13 left Camp Adazi and transitioned to Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania. In Romania, BSRF-13 will be supporting various military engagements while also serving as a crisis contingency force for the Black Sea region. BSRF-13 is slated to conduct military engagements operations with approximately 21 different nations during its six-month deployment. During that time, BSRF will exchange and advise small unit tactics, convoy operations, live fire weapon ranges, non-lethal weapons employment and counter-improvised explosive device training.