Soldiers from the US Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade arrive in Camp Ādaži
On 24 April, 150 paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Unit located in Italy arrived in Latvia, Riga International Airport, by several planes.
One day later, the soldiers from the USA, Latvia and Estonia were visited in Camp Ādaži by the Ambassador of the U.S. to Latvia Mark Pekala, Prime Minister of Latvia Laimdota Straujuma, Minister of Defence Raimonds Vējonis, and Chiefs of Defence the three Baltic States, who participated in these days in the meeting of the Baltic Military Committee.
Latvia currently hosts one of the best units of the U.S. Armed Forces, thus allowing Latvia to feel the solidarity of NATO and how important Latvia is for the NATO partners, the prime minister said in her speech.
She also mentioned in her speech that the arrival of the U.S. soldiers indicates that NATO member states are united during the time when there is a complicated situation in the neighbouring countries Russia and Ukraine. Today, Latvia can feel the first positive consequences of the decision adopted ten years ago to join NATO, said Mrs. Straujuma.
The prime minister also expressed her gratitude to all NATO member countries and the soldiers from the U.S. and Latvia for serving for the sake of security of various countries.
Minister of Defence Raimonds Vējonis also expressed his gratitude for the strong cooperation of the partners in the form of support throughout several years by strengthening mutual relationships of the member countries. The minister also indicated that the presence of the U.S. soldiers in Latvia is also a military benefit to the soldiers of the Latvian soldiers.
When addressing the audience, the minister confirmed that Latvia views the U.S. as a strategic partner and supporter in the process of provision of security in the Baltic States. Cooperation between both countries can be observed in several projects, and today “a new chapter” of the long-term cooperation “is being opened”. Joint military training of the U.S. and Latvian soldiers will improve the readiness of the military forces of Latvia for any possible security challenges in the future, said Mr. Vējonis.
The Minister also expressed his hope that, in the personal context, the troops will acquire good friends among the Latvian soldiers.
Ambassador of the USA to Latvia Mark Pekala indicated that the U.S. and Latvian soldiers have stood “shoulder to shoulder” for several years when serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as participated in military training in Liberia, Michigan and Latvia. Arrival of the U.S. troops in Latvia means further strengthening of cooperation and friendship. Deployment of the troops in Latvia is an important decision for the maintenance of freedom and piece in the Baltic region, said the ambassador of the U.S. to Latvia.
Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube, in his turn, expressed joy for quick adoption of political decisions and the activity of soldiers, although this was not a surprise for him. According to Mr. Graube, the soldiers have already proved their ability to cooperate within several other projects. The presence of the U.S. troops will provide the ability for Latvia to be more prepared and professional while performing the duties.
The military presence in Latvia will be provided by the USA by rotation, based on the wide range of NATO opportunities in the air, on land, and in the sea. Presence of the U.S. troops in the European region will continue at least by the end of this year.