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Oberviechtach, Bavaria, 17 January 2017

Not long to go now:  the first members of the Oberviechtach combat unit will deploy to Lithuania as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence at the end of January. A pre-deployment parade will therefore be held in the home town of 122 Mechanised Infantry Battalion on 19 January.

NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence provides for multinational combat units from member countries to be present in the Baltic States and Poland on a rotational basis. It was agreed at the NATO summit held in Warsaw in July 2016.

Saying farewell to the locals

An ecumenical service will be held in Saint John the Baptist Catholic parish church prior to the pre-deployment parade. The soldiers will thereafter march from the Oberviechtach market place to the Jahn stadium, led by the Veitshöchheim Army Band and a guard of honour. This ceremonial and international farewell is intended to underline the battalion’s relationship with its members’ families and with the people of the region.

Well prepared for the mission

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The Mechanised Infantry Battalion from Oberviechtach will be joined by soldiers of 4 Logistic Support Battalion from Roding, 4 Armoured Engineer Battalion from Bogen and 131 Artillery Battalion from Weiden as well as 104 Tank Battalion from Pfreimd and medical support personnel. The unit is reported to have gelled well. According to Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Huber, Commander of 122 Mechanised Infantry Battalion, preparatory training focused on taking delaying action.

In Lithuania, the German soldiers will have the support of comrades from the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium. They will complete the combat unit upon arrival. “This is a great task for the battalion and for every soldier of this unit to be given,” Lieutenant Colonel Huber said. “We are proud to send a message of determination and look forward to playing our part in the NATO Alliance through this deployment.”

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