Story by 1st Lt. Sarah Burns
Marines from the Finnish Nyland Brigade, U.S. Army paratroopers from the 173d Airborne Brigade, U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy sailors conduct ship to shore movements with U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushions and United Kingdom Royal Navy Landing Craft Vehicle Personnels in Ravlunda, Sweden, June 9. 2015, for BALTOPS 2015.
BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Sarah E. Burns)
BALTIC SEA- In continuation of ongoing commitment to NATO and regional security, more than 300 U.S. Marines are participating in BALTOPS 2015.
The Baltic Operation exercise is an annually recurring maritime exercise this year being commanded by Striking and Support Forces NATO STRIKFORNATO.
“NATO and our partners share a common interest in maintaining a Europe and Baltic region that is safe, secure and prosperous,” said Vice Adm. James Foggo III, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet and commander, STRIKFORNATO. “BALTOPS exercises have resulted in great success and created a foundation for strong relationships that we enjoy today.”
There are 5,600 troops from 17 nations exercising a broad array of naval warfare areas including maritime defense, air interdiction, anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations.
The U.S. Marines are spilt across the USS San Antonio (LPD 17), Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean (UK), and Poland Navy’s ORP Gniezno. Service members from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army comprise the Combined Landing Force (CLF) and Combined Amphibious Task Force executing the amphibious operations in Sweden and Poland.
“Working together across multiple nations and services within a maritime environment allows us to maintain and hone a capability to operate in any potential contingency in order to ensure regional stability,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Estes, senior Marine for BALTOPS 2015.
Participating nations include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. Marines are from II Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and the Black Sea Rotational Force.