BALTIC SEA (NNS) -- As partners to NATO, Finnish military units concluded their participation in BALTOPS 2016 in both amphibious and mine laying operations, 13 June.
Their forces included Hmeenmaa-class minelayer FNS Uusimaa (05), who participated in mine countermeasure (MCM) warfare, Marines from joint Finnish/Swedish Nyland Brigade Amphibious Task Unit and two naval officers who served with Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO aboard USS Mount Whitney.
"I'm absolutely impressed with all of the partners and allies. Our host nations of Finland and Sweden, over the last ten days, have been absolutely superb. Their ranges are on a par or better than what we have on the east coast of the United States, so when I talk to the United States Marines, they say this training is very, very valuable. The interoperability is impressive. When you bring five or six different [nation's] marines corps together, the ability to communicate, to operate in one another's vehicles, to fight together and to establish relationships that will be long lasting -- because we'll be back next year for BALTOPS 17 -- is an enormous force multiplier for the alliance and for the United States of America." - Vice Adm. James Foggo III, United States Navy, Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO; Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet
"BALTOPS 16 provides an outstanding opportunity for Finland to train and execute amphibious operations in a larger crisis management concept. Big ships, air assets, combined with a large number of forces, give us necessary experience for command and control with our international partners. BALTOPS 16 is a tremendous opportunity to show others and also ourselves where we stand and bring these experiences to our national defence." - Commander Tuomo Mero, Nyland Brigade, Lead Planner BALTOPS 16 Amphibious Operations CETFIT Finland
"This tour of duty aboard USS Mount Whitney has helped me understand how Finland could contribute more with the capabilities we have that no other navy has. As a staff officer it is my responsibility to tell my senior officers what could be done together, if needed; details matter; personal relationships matter." - Lt. Cmdr. Jarmo Holopainen, Navy Command; Finnish Liaison Officer, BALTOPS 2016
The purpose of BALTOPS 16 is to promote mutual understanding, confidence, cooperation, and interoperability among forces and personnel of participating nations and support national unit and staff training objectives through a series of training events.
The key events are receiving and integrating allied forces, conducting thorough preparatory training, establishing the necessary conditions for conducting realistic tactical missions, exchanging information, following safety rules, maintaining C2 and logistic support capabilities, conducting amphibious operations, and developing individual commander and staffs skills.
Fifteen NATO and two partner nations are participating in the 44th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2016 in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and throughout the Baltic Sea, June 3-19.
Participating nations in BALTOPS 2016 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.
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