ATHENS – Turkey – which is testing Greece – didn’t take part but Special Operations forces from five other countries joined Greek soldiers in NATO’s Exercise Balkan Shield 22 that ran from Oct. 31-Nov. 10.
The combined military exercise included the participation of special operations forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, and observers from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, said the maneuvers showed multinational military cooperation aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in the Balkans.
The first week of training focused on the special operations tactics with the Special Operations Land Task Group (SOLTG) and the Special Operations Air Task Group (SOATG) said NATO.
The exercise integrated realistic and complex scenarios to test the use of technological assets and the employment of modern tactics and techniques and Greece’s Special Warfare Command hosted a Distinguished Visitors Day. They watched snipers, air and ground infiltration to assault the objective, and a combined Free-fall parachuting team jumping from a C-27 aircraft for the first time to demonstrate rapid response.
Lt. Gen. Georgios, Tsitsikostas, Commander of the Greek Special Warfare Command, said “We considered that Balkan Shield 2022 is the benchmark for the growing cooperation for the SOF of the participating Balkan countries.”
He added of the aim that, “We are convinced that as we could act and operate side by side at the SOTU level, we are ready to operate together at the larger scale if and when necessary.”
Meanwhile, Dutch, German and Norwegian soldiers took part in exercise Spartan Arrow in Chania on the island of Crete, designed to focus on integration of ground-based air defence (GBAD) systems in NATO territory in a practice.