Enhanced Forward Presence: Starting to take shape

Rukla, Lithuania, 1 February 2017 Planning, sawing, hammering, tightening screws and hauling loads – the advance party of the Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Lithuania is keeping busy. There are essential carpentry jobs, like building command post information boards and other helpful items for everyday use, but the main task is unloading equipment and supplies and ensuring everything finds its proper place.

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The IT equipment alone has a total weight of one and a half tons. Small wonder, given that the server cabinet alone weighs 570kg. Belgian servicemen have been unloading 800 sets of fresh bed clothes, along with blankets and pillows, supplied by the Lithuanian armed forces – who are making every effort to help the soldiers of the multinational Battlegroup in Lithuania prepare to welcome the main contingent.

Establishing standards

Bundeswehr Lieutenant M., serving as an infrastructure officer at Rukla, is working with the Belgians to draw up the documents that will underpin the way the base is organised in future. Areas need to be designated for parking, accommodation needs to be allocated, and everything needs to be sensibly distributed. After all, around 1000 soldiers will need to be put up here in the coming months.

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Getting things set up

Construction work includes building the command post. In every task, the German soldiers have the active assistance of their Belgian colleagues, who get to work with great gusto after only a short night’s sleep and a tough previous day. Everyone is working flat out, as Dutch and German troops will be arriving to join the Battlegroup in the next few days.

Equipment to start arriving this weekend

Alongside these preparations, the team needs to make sure further deliveries are properly received in Šeštokai. Around 60 containers and a large number of vehicles will need to take the two-hour journey to Rukla before the week is out – an operation that will also need precise planning.

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Everyone united by the mission

The three nations – Lithuania, Belgium and Germany – are cooperating closely on all preparations, which is already generating a comradely sense of cohesion among the participating soldiers. All are united in their will to complete their joint mission under the auspices of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.

This is a translation of an article by Torsten Stephan published on www.bundeswehr.de