On September 27 – October 7 a Lithuanian Armed Forces Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion platoon including sappers, CBRN decontamination technicians, MCM divers, military working dog handlers and EOD specialists trained in international engineer corps exercise Euretex 2021 in Belgium. Lithuanian representatives were training and sharing experience at the high-level military engineer corps exercise held since 1996 as well.
Exercise organizers create as realistic and real-life training conditions and environment as possible: WMD decontamination teams are using weapons and working in gas-masks and protective suits in gas rooms, divers are training firing from the underwater to underwater metal cutting with special equipment or underwater demolition in especially silent closed-circuit diving equipment. According to Lithuanian combat engineers who took part in the exercise, even routine engineer support tasks, such as building and overcoming different obstacles, demolition works, detecting and neutralizing standard and improvised explosive devises, brought new experience as they were completed in international environment.
Combat engineers from the participant countries practiced tasks in their functional areas during the first Euretex 2021 phase. The exercise participants trained in national and multinational groups across different training sites for sappers, EOD, service dogs, divers, WMD and meteo/geology tasks.
The second phase brought different specialties closer together to unify their expertise to benefit the common purpose to the maximum. The phase covered such tasks as disposal of chemical explosives which requires cooperation of EOD and WMD specialists, or EOD with military working dogs which requires cooperation between dog handlers and explosive ordnance disposal teams and sappers.
Euretex is organized by initiative of Eurocorps that operates within NATO. The main objective of the exercise is to expand the combat engineer expertise, promote sharing of different techniques the different countries apply in completing the same tasks, familiarization and unification of procedures. The organizers and hosts of the exercise rotate, Euretex iterations have already been held in France, Germany, Spain. The iteration in Elsenborn military base in Belgium this year pulled together approx. 500 participants from 14 countries.
Photos: courtesy of the organizers