ADAZI TRAINING AREA, Latvia -- As cool winds blew across the forested Baltic terrain, U.S. Army Soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade showed no signs of stopping as they began a multi-day combined arms live fire exercise with Spanish and Polish allies at Adazi Training Area, Latvia, on October 1, 2017.
The exercise is a part of Bayonet Shield, a regional exercise taking place in the Baltics to build readiness between the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners, including the various enhanced forward presence battle groups. Staff Sgt. Cody Francis, platoon sergeant of 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, highlighted the importance of the American presence in the region.
"We're here in Latvia to train on becoming a stronger fighting force while working alongside our NATO allies, like the Spanish," he said.
The first day of training entailed a dismounted exercise alongside Spanish troops to engage multiple targets and apply breach and clear obstacle tactics at an enclosed training compound on the range. The Spanish were able to destroy a barbed wire fence with their Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System, which paved the way for the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment to breach and clear multiple buildings. Francis noted what this sort of training conveys across NATO.
"This training shows that we're here to support and defend our allies, and in turn they're here to do the same for us," he said.