PALANGA, Lithuania (June 11, 2012) – Maritime forces participating in Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2012, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Baltic Sea, demonstrated a land, sea and air amphibious operation for international distinguished visitors here, June 11.
Attendees included Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaite, president of the republic of Lithuania, Rear Adm. Ann C. Phillips, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, and Anne E. Derse, the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania.
“Sailors and Marines from 12 different nations are here today, working side-by-side to demonstrate this exercise scenario,” said Phillips. “Together, our countries are demonstrating tremendous maritime strategies, and we continue to sharpen our maritime skills with exercises like BALTOPS.”
The distinguished visitors began their day observing a live-fire weapons demonstration and an interactive equipment display from the U.S. Marine Corps and members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Representatives from the United States military and the Lithuanian Armed Forces joined together in planting several oak trees on the training site. The trees, which grow stronger over time, are symbolic of their cooperative abilities.
“A great honor as well as responsibility has been given to Lithuania to be among the countries that host naval and land operations of this exercise,” said Lt Gen Arvydas Pocius, Lithuanian Chief of Defense. “My hopes today are that all of our distinguished guests will see how well the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and our NATO partners are working well together. It’s a very important strategic message we are sending with this exercise.”
The program culminated in the town of Nemirseta, where they observed an amphibious landing on the beach. The operation, which included land, sea and air units, was the first of its kind in Lithuania.
“These exercises have been going on for 40 years, and this is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our Baltic allies,” said Derse. “I heard nothing but the highest of praise from our U.S. servicemembers about the dedication of the Lithuanian military.”
Other participating nations in the BALTOPS 2012 exercise include Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.