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Cooperation with the Pennsylvania National Guard is relevant more than ever, Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis says


On September 11 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis discussed the importance of the State Partnership Programme for Lithuanian and Pennsylvanian military personnel with Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf conducting a formal visit in Lithuania and briefed him on the local security situation.


“The partnership with the Pennsylvania National Guard has always been a sector of continuous and sustained military cooperation of Lithuania and the United States of America, for 26 years now. It has not lost any of its importance over this time. Quite the opposite, our cooperation on development of military infrastructure, joint training, cyber security has never been more relevant than it is in the light of the Russian actions in Ukraine in 2014 and the still ongoing conflict. We thank the Pennsylvania National Guard for the unceasing support to the Lithuanian Armed Forces,” Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis said.


Governor of Pennsylvania also met with Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Valdemaras Rupšys who underscored that the U.S. presence in the Baltic region had international significance of strengthening deterrence and security of NATO’s eastern border. “We are grateful to the Pennsylvania National Guard for your support in developing capabilities and infrastructure of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Last year the Guard’s Red Horse engineer squadron set up an air-to-ground firing range at Kazlų Training Area last year, we are using it for aircrew and tactical air control training. Your support increases our training opportunities,” Chief of Defence said.


Chief of the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Brig Gen Gintautas Zenkevičius pointed the relevance of cooperation with the Pennsylvania National Guard as well and thanked for the opportunity soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force and the National Defence Volunteer Force will have to train together with the Pennsylvania National Guard personnel later this year in October. General also stressed the importance of the support in mechanising the Lithuanian Armed Forces: Lithuanians are gradually learning to operate the newly procured Vilkas IFVs and Americans are helping them to prepare for operational and logistical planning tasks in that endeavour.


Tomorrow the U.S. Governor’s delegation will go to Gen S. Žukauskas Pabradė Training Area (Pabradė region) to observe Engineer Thunder 2019, a currently running international exercise that also involves over 30 soldiers of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The guest delegation among others also includes Adjutant General of Pennsylvania Major General Anthony Carrelli.


The United States is Lithuania’s strategic partner and key ally for security of the Baltic region that actively contributes to the assurance measures in the Baltics and strengthens security and stability of the region. The first team of the U.S. "Train-the-trainer" programme came to Lithuania back in April 1993. The quarter of a decade of defence cooperation saw numerous joint events, from experience exchange at training events, workshops, meetings, and military exercises, to taking part together in the international operation in Afghanistan in 2009–2012. Soldiers of the Pennsylvania National Guard are constantly training in military exercises in the Baltic states and Lithuanian soldiers are taking part in exercises, instructor training programmers and other events in Pennsylvania.

 Photo credits: A. Pliadis/MoD

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