NEWS | June 10, 2021

2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Trains with U.S. Allies and Partners During 50th BALTOPS Exercise

By Gunnery Sergeant Paris Capers, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade

A blur of troops in various military uniforms dart around a room buzzing with a growing, focused chatter. Their eyes race back and forth on gently rocking computer screens while they develop plans to guide a multinational, military team to complete an operation hundreds of miles away dispersed across land and sea, air and cyberspace.

As part of this team, U.S. Marines and Sailors of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade support Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 50, the fiftieth iteration of the exercise, to ensure that joint and coalition maritime, amphibious and aviation forces are trained and able to operate seamlessly together.

 The exercise demonstrates that NATO allies and partners stand united and ready to deter conflict and defend the sovereignty of Baltic nations through sea control and power projection, and to defeat acts of aggression in the region.

“During BALTOPS, 2nd MEB serves as a command and control function: planning, supporting and experiencing realistic training and lessons alongside our allies and  partners,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Anthony Henderson, Commanding General of 2nd MEB, which is based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. “The relationships between the U.S., and its allies and partners is similar to the deep U.S. Navy and Marine Corps bond. We are stronger together with our allies and partners, and by sharing experiences, we form a cohesive team, able to operate better in peace or crisis.”

Embarked aboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney, Henderson shares a joint leadership role during the exercise with U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Robert Katz, Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2. Together, with an integrated staff of U.S. Marines and Sailors and multinational forces, they lead a Navy-Marine Corps team capable of planning, organizing and executing training professionally at the international level.

The combined team also includes support staff from U.S. Sixth Fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, providing an additional layer of perspective and subject matter expertise required for 40 nations to plan, coordinate, and execute united as a cohesive team.

“You could place 2nd MEB to lead any Marine Air-Ground Task Force, joint or coalition headquarters, and receive professional results across the spectrum of military operations,” Henderson said. “Being a professional, capable headquarters is the heart of what a MEB does.”

This iteration of the annually recurring exercise brings together approximately 4,000 service members from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.

Exercise Baltic Operations began June 6 and will continue through June 18.