Elblag, Poland - Allied Land Forces Commander, U.S. Army LGEN Roger L. Cloutier visited Multinational Division North East units during his trip to the Baltics and Poland from Feb. 25 – 28 to gain a better understanding of the Baltic Sea Region and MND-NE’s capabilities.
On Sunday, February 28, together with the LANDCOM Deputy Chief of Staff for Support BGEN Stanisław Kaczyński and a group of officers, LGEN Cloutier visited the MND-NE headquarters in Elbląg, Poland. During the visit, Polish Army MGEN Krzysztof Motacki, Commander, Multinational Division North East, familiarized the group with the structure and tasks of the division, he also noted that despite COVID - 19, all tasks planned for 2020 were completed.
LGEN Cloutier also had the opportunity to be familiarized with the basic military equipment at the MND-NE Command Support Regiment. During his visit, LGEN Cloutier strongly emphasized that only joint action and cooperation, in accordance with the North Atlantic Alliance's maxim "Stronger Together", make us stronger. He also thanked the soldiers of the division for their service - “Thank you all you do for the Alliance. Your walk has a direct impact on NATO readiness and the success of our deterrence mission.”
During his trip he was also able to familiarize himself with various areas in the Baltic Sea Region which included the Sestokai Rail Station and the Suwalki Corridor.
The Sestokai Rail Station in Lithuania allows for the deployment of equipment into the Baltic States from Poland by rail ensuring MND-NE and NATO can provide, if necessary, for the collective defense of the NATO Allies in the Baltic States.
“The Sestokai Rail Station facilitates the swift and effective rail deployment of NATO member troops and equipment into Lithuania and the Baltic States from Poland,” Lithuanian Army Col. Darius Vaicikauskas, Chief of Staff, Multinational Division North East. “The rail station ensures as a division with an affiliated Lithuanian mechanized infantry brigade, we can support them and ensures the collective defense of NATO Allies.”
Cloutier also conducted a terrain walk of the Suwalki Corridor. The Suwalki Corridor is a several dozen kilometers wide strip of territory linking Poland with Lithuania.
“The Suwalki Corridor is the physical link between NATO’s Baltic States and the rest of Europe,” Vaicikauskas said. “As a division with units in Lithuania and Poland, we will act together in order to protect and if necessary defend the corridor.”
In addition to touring these two locations, Cloutier met with the commanders of MND-NE affiliated brigades, Lithuanian Iron Wolf “Geležinis Vilkas” Brigade and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as well as the two supporting eFP Battlegroup commanders.
It was important for the LANDCOM commander to visit the brigade and eFP Commanders.
“The eFP battlegroups each bring something unique to the host nation brigade and our mission which makes all of us stronger and more secure. In addition with the rotation of the eFP battlegroups, it provides our host nation brigades the opportunity to learn new skills that further strengthen our ability to successfully act together.” Vaicikauskas concluded.