ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia (Aug. 3, 2015) — For many Soldiers, the Europe-wide Operation Atlantic Resolve, or OAR, may appear to be merely a composition of combined training and exercises held between the U.S. and NATO allies.
However, Soldiers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization participate in these combined training and exercises, honing their multinational partnership capability and security cooperation in pursuit of enhancing the alliance’s overall interoperability.
But, what does this ‘interoperability’ mean for Europe? More specifically, its Eastern region?
The placement of NATO assets in strategically and geographically relevant locations demonstrates to the region that NATO will uphold the statutes set in Article Five of the Washington Treaty – an attack on one is an attack on all.
This demonstration is one that the U.S. has been vigilantly spearheading.
“Being aligned under NATO is a message in itself,” said 1st Sgt. James Bradshaw, Attack Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. “It is a message that all 28 member states of NATO are willing to defend one another.”
For Bradshaw and Attack Company, who are training alongside the Latvian Land Forces on Adazi Military Base in Latvia, working closely with NATO forces makes for a stronger and better integrated force.
“While everyone’s primary goal is to increase their own proficiency, becoming a truly interwoven force is the end goal,” said Bradshaw, a 14-year-combat veteran and Charleston, South Carolina, native. “Considering some of the common issues that you run into when working with militaries form different nations, I’m impressed with how well all of the NATO nations are able to work together.”
The ‘Sky Soldiers’ of 173rd Airborne Brigade out of Vicenza, Italy, was the first unit to deploy and jump into Poland and the Baltic States in support of OAR following the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014 and have several of its companies located throughout Europe.
For the Sky Soldiers and other Soldiers that previously deployed in support of OAR, which includes those from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georigia, and the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade out of Grafenwöhr, the value is understanding that their partnership with NATO allies is part of something larger.
“The training and exercises within the OAR area of operations are not only synchronized with assurance measures and activities on land, but those going on at sea and in the sky,” said British army Col. Gordon Falconer, Allied Land Forces Command, assistant chief of staff for operations. “While the aim of the units here is to make sure their own professional competence is spread among those they train with, the overall goal is to create the best assurance effect without becoming overly provocative”
Falconer concluded that this balance of provocation and, ultimately, interoperability is key to the future of the alliance and the region; especially considering its current situation with Russia.
Visit the Operation Atlantic Resolve website for up-to-date photos and information.