NATO chief takes in exercise at Adazi

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg departed Latvia Friday for Lithuania on the next leg of his whistlestop tour of the Baltic states, but not before taking in a live-fire exercise at the Adazi military base located just outside Riga. 

Accompanied by numerous officials including Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis and chief of defense Raimonds Graube, Stoltenberg donned ear defenders to watch Latvian, Norwegian and US troops combine forces with tanks, armored fighting vehicles and infantry in freezing and snowy conditions.

After talking to military personnel he took particular pleasure in chatting with fellow countrymen from Norway's famous Telemark battalion who have been stationed in Latvia since September and whose tour of duty ends next week.

Major Otto Lovland told LSM his unit had enjoyed their time in Latvia

"We've done a lot of training and participated in two major international exercises," Lovland said.

"NATO forces train a lot so it's business as usual but we take our training seriously. Telemark battalion is a mechanised infantry battalion so it's a maneuvering and combat unit. We've had several deployments to Afghanistan so we're familiar and trained to conduct police support operations, counter-insurgency and so forth."

"The basic training we have done here is conventional ground combat. It's not something new but it's been a good experience to see that we're able to make it work with Estonians, Latvians and Americans. It's always reassuring to actually see the cooperation actually functioning." 

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