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Minnesota National Guard joins British marines, Polish soldiers for Saber Strike 17

By Army Sgt. Shiloh Capers | 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment | June 20, 2017

Minnesota National Guard   (Related Site)

Exercise Saber Strike 17   (Related Site)

U.S. Army Europe   (Related Site)

SVENTEZERIS, Lithuania — A combined forces exercise transitioned into a medical evacuation exercise with simulated casualties here June 18.

Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division and British Royal Marines and Polish soldiers conducted a ground assault on defensive forces, portrayed by Lithuanian soldiers, to obtain control of road access. The ground assault naturally provided a smooth transition into the medical evacuation portion with mock casualties during Exercise Saber Strike 17 in Lithuania.

U.S. Army Europe-Led Exercise

Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led training exercise in the Baltic region. The exercise tests the capability of multiple nations to act together against a threat.

The U.S and Polish soldiers and British marines trained as a platoon for two days, rehearsing movements before being flown into a nearby location the day before the evacuation exercise. The platoon put their battle plan into action as they overcame the defensive forces, demonstrating skill and speed.

The ground assault provided the opportunity to include medical evacuation training with mock casualties into the exercise in Lithuania.

Medevac training is a unique process and all nations should have that experience, said Army Lt. Col. Ryan Meidema, commander of Task Force Phoenix.

"By us bringing in our aircraft, it exposes them to that type of process, radio calls [for support] and how to request it," said Meidema. "I've sat in meetings and our allies have not had the chance to talk to aircraft on the ground side. It's mainly their air controllers that talk to aircraft, so bringing in the medevac gives other forces a chance to learn how to speak to the aircraft."


A common foundation of knowledge is necessary to communicate, build combat power, assemble swiftly and with agility, bring combat forces against the enemy or to reassure allies, he said.

Exercises like Saber Strike enable countries to strengthen bonds and improve military capabilities. The environment encourages combined training to share military skills to achieve tasks. Being in a combined exercise enables soldiers to interact and learn new skills. It cements knowledge into action and experience.

"In this field exercise, we integrated different assets and had the opportunity to improve individual and collective skills," said Lithuanian Land Forces Capt. Tomas Malakauskas, commander of 1st Company, Duke Vaidotas Mechanized Infantry Battalion. "We focused on procedures and its [different] levels from the Soldier to headquarters and commanders."