1-68 AR Soldiers Conduct Anti-Tank Live Fire In Estonia
(Source: US Army; issued March 15, 2017)
The Baltic Republics have rapidly built up their defenses in recent years thanks to their NATO allies. Here, Estonian soldiers fire a Milan 2 anti-tank missile during a combined anti-tank live fire exercise with deployed US soldiers. (US Army photo)
TAPA, Estonia --- Soldiers assigned to Company C. (Chaos Company), 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted an anti-tank live fire with Estonian Defense Forces, March 13-15, 2017 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a U.S. led effort in eastern Europe that demonstrates U.S. commitment to the collective security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.

The 3rd ABCT, 4th ID, known as the Iron Brigade is deployed to the region to train with Allies and partners, and continue the armored presence in Europe. The anti-tank live fire was an opportunity for U.S. Soldiers and Estonian soldiers to practice their skills of preparing and firing the weapons systems as well as practice working as a unified team.

"There are two roles this training will fill," said 1st Lt. Paul Castellini, fires support officer for Company C, 1-68 AR. "One is the tanks section live fire; anti-tank familiarization with our Javelin missiles, our [Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided] TOW missiles, which is our Bradley anti-tank weapon. It is also a combined exercise with the Estonians doing the same thing."

The Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles drove to the firing range and staged the vehicles on Monday, March 13. This allowed both U.S. and Estonian forces to map out a plan of attack against a mock target. The following day the range went hot with the target being assaulted with Javelin and TOW missiles as well as mortar rounds.

Exercises like this are important because it allows us to understand each other better, said 1st Lt. Toomas Rein, executive officer for Anti-Tank Company, 1st Infantry Brigade, Estonian Defence Forces.

"We work together better because we know what kind of techniques each other uses," Rein stated. "It makes our cooperation better. We know we can depend on each other if it is needed."

The United State military participates in these multinational exercises to familiarize Soldiers with their counterparts in Allied and partnered countries and demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. to NATO and the region.

"It is always good to remain current on our weapons systems," explained Castellini. "It is really important to do this with our counterparts; it shows our capabilities, also we can learn from their capabilities. It also helps us get familiarization with each other, not just the weapons systems."

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U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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