US Army 1st Infantry Division Completes Winter Shield 2021 in Latvia
US Army 1st Infantry Division Completes Winter Shield 2021 in Latvia

NATO Allies Enhance Interoperability During Exercise Winter Shield in Latvia

Between 22 November and 4 December, Allies with the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Brigade, NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Latvia and the U.S. 1 st Infantry Division conducted exercise Winter Shield. This annual military exercise served to upgrade Allied combat capabilities and interoperability, and demonstrate NATO’s ironclad commitment to the Baltic Sea region. Held in ?daži, exercise Winter Shield provided ready and postured, combat-credible forces through multinational training and security cooperation activities.

NATO Allies Enhance Interoperability During Exercise Winter Shield in Latvia
Czech combat engineers with NATO’s eFP Battlegroup Latvia erect a bridge to facilitate a wet gap crossing during exercise Winter Shield at Camp ?daži (Photo by SGT Guillaume Landreville/NATO)

“This exercise in an outstanding opportunity for us to really demonstrate the interoperability we have; to be able to take Latvians, Americans, Czechs, Spanish and many others that all work together. The ability to rapidly surge combat-ready forces into and across the theater is critical to be able to project forces at a moment’s notice to support the Alliance,” the Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John Benson, Commander NATO eFP Battlegroup Latvia, stated.

Soldiers with the U.S. 3rd Bn, 66th Armored Regt, 1st Armored Bde Combat Team, 1st Infantry Div, fire a 25mm tracer round from an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during an integrated night live-fire exercise for Winter Shield in ?daži (Photo by CPL Max Elliott/NATO)

Winter Shield highlighted capabilities of the joint forces. Soldiers had to remain flexible as they were integrated into different training exercises, including demolition, infantry, armored vehicles, mortar support, bridge laying and signal support. Through precise and coordinated planning, allied nations performed together like a well-oiled machine without hesitation. Latvia provided a great training environment and allowed for soldiers from countries with a warmer climate to step out of their comfort zones and get more experience in snowy, colder conditions.

Soldiers with the Latvian Mechanized Infantry Bde during exercise Winter Shield at Camp ?daži (Photo by SGT ?riks Kukutis/NATO)

Winter Shield 2021 concluded with a closing ceremony, where Latvian Land Forces Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Sandris Gaugers delivered awards and recognized outstanding Soldiers for their performances during Winter Shield 2021. Latvia provided a great training environment and allowed for soldiers from countries with a warmer climate to step out of their comfort zones and get more experience in snowy, colder conditions. The exercise began Nov. 22, 2021 and concluded on Dec. 5, 2021.

Soldiers with the U.S. 1st Bde Engineer Bn, 1st Armored Bde Combat Team, 1st Infantry Div and Spanish service members with NATO’s eFP Battlegroup Latvia walk to the demolition site during a tree demolition training exercise for Winter Shield in ?daži (Photo by SPC. Michael Baumberger/NATO)