NATO and partner nations stormed the shores of Sweden, June 13, during an amphibious landing part of Baltic Operations 2015.
The landing was a rehearsal for the main event happening in Ustka, Poland, June 17.
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“I’ve been doing amphibious operations in the U.S. Navy for almost 30 years, and never have I seen a staff get together so quickly and execute this well,” U.S. Navy Capt. Todd Lewis, Combined Amphibious Task Force (CATF) commander for BALTOPS 2015, said about execution of the amphibious landing rehearsal in Sweden. “The staff is really leaning forward. We know Poland is a different situation. It’s not the same environment, but we showed our ability to execute, and I have no doubt we will perform even better with the lessons we learned today.”
The troops arrived to shore via the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), the U.K. Royal Navy’s Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), the Finnish Marine Corps’ JEHU (U-700) and the Swedish Navy’s Combat Boat – 90 (CB-90). Supporting air assets included the U.K. Royal Navy’s Lynx MK-8 and the British Army’s Apache helicopters.
The Combined Landing Force (CLF) consisted of U.S. Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Black Sea Rotational Force, U.S. Army paratroopers from 173rd Airborne Brigade, Finnish marines from the Nyland brigade, marines from the Swedish 1st Infantry Regiment, U.K. Royal Navy sailors and U.K. Royal Marine Commandos.
Operating in the amphibious planning room aboard the HMS Ocean, the CATF and CLF team comprised of service members from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, supported the landing via transportation logistics, air and fire support and communications.
“From the perspective of the operations room, it was great to see how well we executed given the short amount of time of being together and planning for such a large amphibious operation,” said 1st Lt. Chris Cavanaugh, communications officer with Black Sea Rotational Force and fire support communication officer for BALTOPS 2015. “Seeing the synchronization of the staff and the communication flow amongst everyone really demonstrated our ability to work together.”
Approximately 5,600 troops from 17 nations exercised a broad array of naval warfare areas including maritime defense, air interdiction, anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations.
The U.S. Marines split across the USS San Antonio, HMS Ocean (UK), and ORP Gniezno (Poland), with service members from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army comprise the Combined Landing Force (CLF) and Combined Amphibious Task Force executing the amphibious operations in Sweden and Poland.
Participating nations include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the United States.
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