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VENTSPILS, Latvia- NATO nations participate in convoy operations alongside Marines while escorted by Latvian Movement and Control officers during exercise Saber Strike 17 in Ventspils, Latvia, May 28, 2017. Exercise Saber Strike 17 is an annual combined-joint exercise conducted at various locations throughout the Baltic region and Poland. The combined training prepares allies and partners to respond more to regional crises and meet their own security needs by improving the security of borders and countering threats.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila

Saber Strike 17 Successfully Employs MPF Operations

8 Jun 2017 | Cpl. Devan Barnett Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Exercises like Saber Strike 17 develop trust with U.S. Allies and partner nations in Europe. This year, the exercise taking place May 23 - June 24, 2017, demonstrates a full spectrum of military operations that show there is no substitute for the U.S. forward-deployed presence in Europe to deter any possible threats.
This year the exercise highlights U.S. military capabilities by using Maritime Prepositioning Forces to receive required gear. This capability allows the Marine Corps to transport equipment and vehicles to foreign lands by beach or pier. The ability to offload gear, regardless of location, keeps the U.S. armed forces ready.
“The great part of the MPF is that they are all around the world, ready to respond,” said Navy Lt. Amy Kenny, the MPF officer for Naval Beach Group Two, Expeditionary Strike Group Two. “And now we have shown that the Navy can expeditiously offload and provide you with gear.”
The MPF’s capability prevents the maritime forces from waiting for vehicles to be transported from the continental United States by other means.
“Without Maritime Prepositioning Ships, we would be slow,” said Kenny. “There’s a ton of working gear and equipment on these boats, at any given time, ready to go. If it didn’t exist, you would be stuck in a situation where you have to load boats back home and port gear to them overseas.”
With the assistance of the MPF, the ships can provide gear in a moment’s notice and give the U.S. Marine Corps the logistical support in a timely manner.
“This year’s exercise demonstrates our flexibility and responsiveness to deploy in support of a crisis or contingency as we integrate with our maritime prepositioning shipping,” said Col. Matthew Puglisi, the Marine Corps task force commander of Saber Strike 17. “Conducting maritime prepositioning operations in support of the geographical commander’s exercise priorities, allows us to prepare for future operations.”
The swift offload of gear allows the Marines to be faster prepared for operations and ability to quickly move further inland.
“Currently we are looking forward to conducting the field exercises where we integrate our infantry and the infantry enablers: artillery, tanks, and light armored vehicles,” said Puglisi. “We are looking forward to training with the land brigade in Adazi, so that we can share and learn each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.”
The participants of Saber Strike 17 will convoy the unloaded equipment to Adazi, Latvia, to start participation in the next stage of the exercise.