NATO Air Defense Forces Integrate in the Baltics
(Source: US Army; issued Sept. 28, 2020)
Soldiers from ten nations prepare for the closing ceremony of Tobruq Legacy 2020 at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania. Tobruq Legacy 20 is a multinational exercise led by Lithuania. (US Army photo)
SIAULIAI Air Base, Lithuania --- Soldiers assigned to 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) along with air defense forces from nine other NATO countries participated in Tobruq Legacy 2020 (TOLY20) from Sep. 14 to 25 in Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania.

Tobruq Legacy 20 is a biennial exercise designed to enhance interoperability between U.S. Air Defense Artillery (ADA) forces and partner nations’ Surface Based Air Defense (SBAD) units.

The exercise tests NATO Allies and coalition partners’ ability to conduct operations in support of the defense of Europe and to improve NATO’s ability to execute integrated air and missile defense operations. Tobruq Legacy refines tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for NATO collaboration and the establishment of a multi-national kill chain.

It is important to have air defense assets on the modern-day battlefield and be able to integrate with our NATO allies.

“Air Defense is a game of chess and it’s about understanding the landscape of the battlefield, utilizing your assets, and anticipating the enemy’s next course of action to effectively neutralize those threats,” Capt. Waiverly Washington, Alpha Btry Commander, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (A/5-4 ADAR) said. “The training environment was excellent since we had live enemy threats and ground ambushes to create the most realistic training opportunity,”

The exercise started with a short-range air defense integration with the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Forces. A platoon from A/5-4 ADAR integrated with the Lithuanian King Mindaugas Hussars Battalion; providing air defense on the move for a 120km tactical convoy, culminating in a breach of Panevezys Air Base.

1st Lt. Benjamin Taitano, from A/5-4 ADAR explained the importance of this maneuver, “It is astounding to see how quickly our Soldiers were able to adapt to the Lithuanian Infantry Battalion’s tactics, techniques and procedures in less than 24 hours; providing effective air defense coverage.”

Training with our allies is essential in the joint fight not just to refine our procedures, but to establish relationships for our NATO allies and grow together.

“Opportunities to train with our allies and partners allow Soldiers to form bonds and relationships that go beyond tactics and procedures,” said Capt. Drew DeFabio, Charlie Battery Commander, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery. “Camaraderie amongst Soldiers is powerful.”

If the call comes to defend our nation and its interests, our Soldiers will not only know how to fight alongside our brothers and sisters in arms, they’ll know who is there fighting alongside them, DeFabio explained.

This exercise has allowed us the ability to build our relationships and combined processes now, so that we are ready to integrate quickly and deter any potential threat.

“We understand that we don’t fight alone, that we will have our allies on our left and right and the only way to be effective is to understand their intent,” Washington said “This is not a simple task, it will come from continuing to work with our partner nations to continue to build strong alliances”

This is the largest air and missile defense exercise of 2020, and allowed the 10th AAMDC to work with allies and partners throughout Europe to ensure the most efficient integrated air and missile defense is being employed.

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