More than 1200 Soldiers from Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the United States participated in Exercise Hunter, May 9-19, at General Silvestras Zukauskas Training Area in Pabrade, Lithuania.
The exercise allowed commanders the opportunity to integrate allied troops into their units to complete joint tasks and various defensive operations. While integrated, allied Soldiers were able to learn each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.
Throughout Exercise Hunter, the allies trained on anti-tank platforms to include the Javelin, Spike and Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapons.
Lt. Col. Marc-Ulrich Cropp, commander of the German Army’s 291st Infantry Battalion, said the training was beneficial because of Lithuania’s terrain and the opportunity to train with allied troops.
“The great benefit for our unit here in Lithuania is being able to train in perfect terrain with multinational forces,” said Cropp. “Interoperability will be at a high level after this exercise.”
Cropp said he considered the support that his unit received from its Lithuanian hosts and allied commanders a highlight during Exercise Hunter. No matter the location in Lithuania, Cropp said his unit received the support necessary to perform its duties.
“Our time in Lithuania has been really great for us,” said Cropp. “We received all the support that we needed to conduct training, whether here in Pabrade, or in Rukla. The support by the commanders has been great.”
For many of the Soldiers involved, Exercise Hunter provided the opportunity to work alongside, and learn the capabilities of allied forces. Sgt. Tyler Berry, an infantryman with Ghost Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, said that it was fun learning/watching the capabilities and effectiveness of his allied counterparts.
“Every country has its own way of operating during operations like this,” said Berry. “It was nice to see how they implemented their weapons into the scenario, which allowed us to maneuver freely.”
Berry said watching the Latvian Land Force Soldiers use the Carl Gustaf anti-tank missile was his favorite moment throughout the training. He said he was impressed by the weapon’s abilities.
“The Carl Gustaf was very, very effective,” said Berry.
Overall, the Soldiers and leadership involved felt the opportunity to train with their allies was important for present and future relations.
“I enjoyed working with Soldiers from different countries more than anything else during this operation,” said Pvt. Peter Kleins, a gunner with the Latvian Land Force. “It’s important that we all know how each other operates, so that if the times comes, we are ready to help each other.”