Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia (eFP BG LVA) - April 2020 – A Month of Mullets, Manoeuvres, and Measures, a COVID-19 story.
Captain James “Acting IMO” Lee and Lt Samuel “Strathcona” Serviss
April has been a great month for the members of eFP BG LVA. The previous month had been exciting, but with the arrival of COVID-19 personnel got confined to base and the calendar cleared up. As exercises were getting cancelled across NATO, BG members had one exercise that was a beacon of hope for those looking to leave the base.
Ex STEELE BRAWLER ran from 13-18 April and was held in Camp Meza Mackevici by Daugavpils. This Ex looked like the last chance soldiers could get off base and was meant as an airmobile Ex with mounted support following up. In the morning of 13 April the Ex kicked off with an ALERTEX message going out, getting Double Cross (Slovakia) ready to deploy. After a few hour helicopter bus ride they arrived and dismounted for a linkup with Captain Harry “Labdien” Delaney who was acting as a Latvian Company for the Forward Passage of Lines. As the Ex progressed, Grizzly (1 PPCLI), Escorpion (Spain), and Lupi (Italy) arrived and conducted two iterations of the Ex scenario, with two companies at a time participating.
The Ex had some great food prepared by Strathcona cooks, and was also a great activity for the OPFOR. Captain Tom “Thermal sights are great” Clackson had great fun sending out a clearance patrol after spotting Lupi snipers through his thermal. As the clearance patrol from his Troop went out, you could soon hear them yelling as they caught up and captured a Prisoner of War (POW). After a quick discussion with Major James “OPFOR doesn’t take POWs” Anderson, the Lupi snipers were told to wait 10 minutes and then continue their mission.
Besides Ex STEELE BRAWLER there was only one other Ex during April. The hardened troops of call sign WAR MACHINE aka Battle Group Headquarters (BG HQ) deployed to the Adazi training area for 3 days and 2 nights to test out the different readiness states for the Command Posts. The end state was achieved, and so concluded eFPs April adventures.
Adapting to the new COVID-19 social distancing reality we currently live in, eFP troops have adapted to life confined to base. Haircuts? A thing of the past. With our professional barbers unavailable, black market haircuts are popping up all over base. Those who are choosing not to have their hair cut by someone who swears “they’ve done this before”, are all rocking mullets. Pure chaos. Movie nights allow soldiers time to keep their minds off the present, and pre-determined running routes are keeping our soldiers fit. With the re-allowing of ordering food onto base, soldiers can even grab Donairs, to balance out all that running they’re doing. With restrictions around Latvia slowly easing, we are looking forward to leaving our 80s haircuts in the past, and rejoining the 21st century.