Over 200 military vehicles and roughly 1000 soldiers carry out a tactical crossing over Nemunas

It has been an unusual morning on June 13 for residents of Zapyškis and Kulautuva towns in Kaunas district. Military actions began at the break of dawn: helicopters were flying, different military vehicles were driven. The US 2nd Cavalry Regiment training in international Exercise Saber Strike 2018 has to cross over a water obstacle and proceed to the north.

The area of Kulautuva is controlled by hostile forces in the exercise scenario, thus six artillery units were brought by CH-47 Chinook helicopters of the US forces to the still friendly area in Zapyškis town on the eve of the obstacle crossing operation. The artillery systems are need for fire support to military equipment and personnel while they are crossing the river. In the morning of June 13 four CH-47 Chinook helicopters of the US Armed Forces were used for an airborne landing of US troops, over 100 soldiers cleared the territory from hostile forces and prepared the bank for a safe transfer of equipment.

The operation was observed by Chief of the Defence Staff Maj Gen Vitalijus Vaikšnoras who estimated the allies’ actions in the area of operation and underscored the importance of their presence in Lithuania and the Baltic region. “The exercise running simultaneously with Lithuania’s ‘largest national exercise creates an excellent operational environment for us to seek exercise objectives in,” General said during the operation.

“It was very interesting to watch the military actions. We have been informed the exercise was going to take place and we were eagerly waiting,” Rasa and Tadas, residents of Kulautuva, said.

The crossing operation was implemented using capabilities of German and British military engineers, M3 amphibious vehicles. Soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion are tasked with ensuring security of the exercise site. When the crossing is complete, the units will move forward to the districts of Panevėžys and Šiauliai to complete a variety of operations.

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