The official ceremony in the parade field at Adazi marked the beginning of Saber Strike in Latvia, June 3.
The eight countries (Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom and United States) participating in the operation in Adazi gathered together for the annual U.S. Army Europe-led multinational combined forces exercise which occurs in the Baltic region.
Key speakers were Maj. Gen. Leonids Kalnins, Chief of Defense of Latvia, and Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, commanding general, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard.
The exercise is a time for Allies to demonstrate strong commitment to readiness against threats, Maj. Gen. Kalnins declared in his speech for the ceremony.
Maj. Gen. Loidolt stated the 2017 exercise held a particular focus for improving land, sea and air integration capabilities. An additional objective was to train with NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups.
The battle groups stationed in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are a portion of NATO's overall deterrence and defense posture, designed to demonstrate the Allies' determination and ability to act cohesively as a single unit, Loidolt explained.
The demands of the exercise should reflect real experience, as leaders guide their units through the exercise.
"I'm looking forward to the challenging, realistic and successful exercise," Loidolt said.
Operation Saber Strike encourages the multiple nations to demonstrate their professional expertise through their active participation in the exercise, Kalnins relayed.
The ceremony closed with raising the flags of the nations participating in Latvia.
Overall, 20 nations will be involved in the exercise and will span across four countries. The nations in the exercise are Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the United States.