BALTOPS '13 culminates at Kiel Week
June 22 in Kiel, Germany: In Kiel, BALTOPS' events include a post exercise discussion; ship tours of the BALTOPS Maritime Force by local government officials, military members and the public; a reception aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20); as well as participation in Kiel Week.
British Royal navy Rear Adm. Timothy Lowe, right, deputy commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, speaks with British Royal Marines on board the amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) at the conclusion of exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2013. Now in its 41st year, BALTOPS 2013 is an annual multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability with partner nations to promote maritime safety and security in the Baltic Sea.
1 photo: BALTOPS 2013
Photo 1 of 1: British Royal navy Rear Adm. Timothy Lowe, right, deputy commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, speaks with British Royal Marines on board the amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) at the conclusion of exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2013. Now in its 41st year, BALTOPS 2013 is an annual multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability with partner nations to promote maritime safety and security in the Baltic Sea. Download full-resolution version

KIEL, Germany - Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2013, a multi-national forces exercise, drew to a close June 22 in Kiel, Germany.

In Kiel, BALTOPS' events include a post exercise discussion; ship tours of the BALTOPS Maritime Force by local government officials, military members and the public; a reception aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20); as well as participation in Kiel Week.

Kiel Week is a nine-day sailing festival. The event has a history of more than 200 years, attracts many world famous participants and draws more than 2,000 sail boats and 5,000 participants yearly.

"As a complement to a successful BALTOPS, we are able to participate in Kiel Week, which provides an exciting opportunity to continue developing and enjoying relationships with our coalition partners. Those relationships contribute to a successful BALTOPS and future military operations," said Cmdr. Lance Lesher, acting afloat deputy commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2.

Focusing on interoperability and team building, BALTOPS promotes and fosters maritime security and cooperation among regional partners.

"[BALTOPS] promotes mutual understanding, confidence, cooperation and interoperability among the participating forces," explained Cmdr. Soeren Larsen, commanding officer of the Danish frigate HDMS Absalon (L16).

"BALTOPS is an excellent venue for that purpose."

BALTOPS '13 began in Ronne, Denmark and Ventspils, Latvia with pre-sail conferences followed by an at-sea phase that included exercises focused on maritime interdiction operations, mine countermeasures, undersea warfare and seamanship. This was followed by a wargame phase which placed participants in an asymmetrical threat environment, allowing them to showcase procedures, training and cooperative efforts honed during the exercise.

"BALTOPS allows participating nations to do combined training and learn from the experiences of the partner nations," said Cmdr. Gerald Liebich, commanding officer of the German frigate FGS Brandenburg (F215). "The whole purpose of BALTOPS is the team spirit that joint exercises bring out; the Baltic Sea is an outstanding playground for this type of training."

"The magnitude of BALTOPS provides a unique chance to expand military interoperability and to enhance and strengthen partnership not only among NATO members, but with regional neighbors alike," said Lt.Cmdr. Egidijus Oleskevicius, commander, Task Unit .50.

With more than 40 multi-national surface and air units participating, BALTOPS '13 also allowed for numerous opportunities to conduct cross-deck training.

"Composed of nine personnel from the Dutch, Latvian, Finnish, German and US navies, our mission was to track, coordinate and consolidate the efforts of three Mine Counter Measures [MCM] task units, consisting of 29 multi-national MCM ships," said Marine Corps Lt.Col. Wesely Bane, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) TWO, officer in charge of the MCM cell embarked on the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805). "It has truly been a unique and rewarding opportunity; successfully sharing our capabilities and methods will greatly enhance our ability to respond effectively to real world events."

"No nation can confront today's challenges alone," said Lt.Col. David Bussel, director, Joint Training, Readiness and Exercises at U.S. European Command. "For 41 years, this exercise has provided EUCOM the interoperability necessary to continually improve and maintain security in the Baltic region and demonstrates our steadfast commitment to NATO."

Regularly scheduled by Commander, U.S. European Command, BALTOPS '13 was directed from aboard USS Mount Whitney by Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, commander, ESG 2, on behalf of Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. Participating nations included Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United States and NATO.

For related news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.
 

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