PALDISKI HARBOR, Estonia (June 14, 2012) – Maritime forces participating in Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2012, one of the largest multinational maritime exercises this year in the Baltic Sea, demonstrated a Maritime Prepositioning Force offload for international distinguished visitors and local media, June 14.
Distinguished visitors included His Excellency Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of the Republic of Estonia; Michael Polt, U.S. Ambassador to Estonia; Marine Lt. Gen. Richard Tryon, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations; Lt. Gen. Frank Panter Jr., deputy commandant for installations and logistics; and Brig. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commander for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe-Africa.
International media were also on hand to observe the highly coordinated offload and to hear about the importance of such capabilities to BALTOPS and the Baltic Region.
“[We] remind ourselves that our greatest strength lies in shared values…Estonia and our Baltic neighbors know this perhaps better than anyone,” said Chiarotti. “When we stand together side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder defending those common values of freedom, human dignity and democracy against threats who seek to oppress and destroy, we are stronger together.”
U.S. Marines from the 4th Marine Logistics Group, Sailors from Naval Beach Group Two and the staff of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron One aboard Military Sealift Command’s Maritime Prepositioning Force ship USNS 2ND LT John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008), provided static displays and demonstrations to show the work that goes into rapidly moving military equipment from sea to shore.
The day’s events culminated with a dynamic demonstration featuring a causeway ferry from Bobo’s Navy Improved Lighterage System expertly navigating its way from the water onto a narrow and rocky beach, where the cargo, consisting of several Estonian vehicles and U.S. seven-ton Mechanical Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks, were driven onto land.
“The U.S. Navy has been conducting BALTOPS exercises here in Northern Europe since 1971,” said U.S. Ambassador Polt. “This annual exercise is now conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace, dedicated to the security of the nations of the Baltic region. With the cooperation of our Baltic allies, our militaries are ensuring they can operate together most effectively in the air, on land and at sea.”
BALTOPS 12 is an invitational joint and combined exercise focused on enhancing multinational maritime capabilities and interoperability, in order to promote understanding, confidence, and cooperation among the participating nations.
Other participating nations in the BALTOPS 2012 exercise include Denmark, Lithuania, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.