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News | May 30, 2023

Maryland National Guard, Estonia Partner in Overseas Exercise

By Spc. Joshua Whitaker, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Maryland Army National Guard members participated in the Spring Storm 23 exercise in Tapa, Estonia, May 13-27.

Twenty-two Soldiers assigned to the 291st Digital Liaison Detachment supported the two-week Estonian exercise at the Tapa Air-to-Ground Range.

Spring Storm is the largest annual military exercise of the Estonian Defence Force. The EDF division, established just last year, led the exercise for the first time.

“Compared to previous Spring Storm exercises, we are not focusing so much on what is happening directly on the battlefield, but rather the division is focusing on how to defeat the enemy in depth,” said Estonian Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, the EDF division commander. “The goal is to inflict losses on the enemy that weaken them before close combat and prevent them from winning the battle. Although we established the new division at the beginning of the year, the management of Spring Storm and tactical activities are already under their guidance.”

That new EDF division needed artillery expertise that the 291st DLD could provide.

“Standing up a new division really demonstrates a shift in prior doctrine that the Estonian military was working under and really demonstrates their ability to partner with NATO in a more robust and aggressive fashion to defend their territory,” said Maryland Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Adam Mosey, a fire support noncommissioned officer in the 291st Digital Liaison Detachment. 

“The Maryland Army National Guard has a 30-year history with the Estonian military and really getting to ‘left-seat right-seat,’ we often call it with our Estonian counterparts, really helps the U.S. military but also helps the Estonian military in being truly interoperable and looking at greater lethality,” Mosey said.

The MDARNG also sent a contingent of Joint Fire Support Specialists to integrate with NATO forces and demonstrate the capabilities of Division Artillery.

“This is my first time going out of the country,” said Maryland Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Josh Lynch, a joint fire support specialist with the 1st Detachment, 107th Field Artillery. “When we get to work with other NATO forces, we get an idea of how to work with each other, how we operate. We are more alike than I initially thought and it has been an awesome experience working out here.”

This year marks 30 years of partnership between Estonia and Maryland through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. MDARNG Soldiers are looking forward to many more.

“They’re open, hospitable and very welcoming,” said Maryland Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Michael Winter, 107th Field Artillery Battalion. “They’re just great people.”