News | June 8, 2021

Albania and back again

By Staff Sgt. Joshua Magbanua 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - Soldiers of the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) recently deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to Albania in support of Defender 21—a multinational, joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between U.S., NATO and partner militaries.

The exercise incorporated joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS) operations conducted by military service members from multiple branches as well as Department of Defense Civilians in one of the U.S. Army’s most extensive training exercises in Europe.

“Nothing hinders U.S. military might,” said U.S. Army Col. Timothy Zetterwall, 7th TBX commander. “In the midst of a pandemic, the U.S. can transport a fighting force, and sustain it, across the Atlantic while keeping our force safe and maintaining readiness throughout for follow-on missions.”

According to U.S. Army Europe and Africa, this year’s Defender 21 exercise integrates approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations to conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries. The exercise is defensive in nature, focusing on building operational readiness and interoperability with a large number of NATO allies and partners over a wide area of operations.

Defender 21’s objective is to demonstrate the U.S.’s ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and Black Sea regions while sustaining our joint force capabilities  in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Africa.

“Each Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, and Coast Guardsmen has a key role in every part of a JLOTS operation,” said Zetterwall. “Every weather professional, every causeway platoon member, every stevedore, and every warp tug operator are instrumental in the completion of bringing and sustaining the joint force ashore.”

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