Estonian Defence League’s Western Storm military exercise brings thousands of volunteer troops to Pärnu County
As the Estonian Defence Forces’ major annual Spring Storm exercise continues in Southeast Estonia, the Estonian Defence League’s weeklong Western Storm exercise involving five Defence League districts began in Western Estonia on Monday.
Taking place simultaneously with Spring Storm, the volunteer-based Estonian Defence League’s Western Storm is an evaluation exercise for a unit comprised mainly of Western Estonian districts, whose main focus will be on structure defense, territory sweep and cleanse of enemies, and defense against assault.
“Although we have participated in a good number of major exercises in recent times, Western Storm is certainly the most important of them for Western Estonian districts,” said Pärnu District Chief Lt. Col. Tõnu Miil.
The exercise’s training activities, which will include the use of dummy rounds and explosive packets, are scheduled for daylight hours. During the weeklong exercise, residents and travelers in Pärnu County may see more Defence League military equipment than usual across the county.
Lt. Col. Miil requested the public’s patience and understanding during the week, citing the fact that Defence League volunteers were simply fulfilling their duties and training for the sake of the country’s safety. “The Defence League can only operate successfully thanks to the support of local communities. In helping us conduct military exercises, every Estonian can contribute directly to national defence,” stated Miil.
Western Storm will officially end jointly with final parade in Tihemetsa borough, in Pärnu County’s Saarde Parish, and the grand opening of Pärnu District Kikepera Sub-Unit’s recently renovated headquarters.
The exercise will physically take place in Western Estonia’s Pärnu County, primarily in its Paikuse, Surju and Saarde Parishes. Virtually, however, the volunteer troops on the ground will be joined virtually by staff from Lääne and Saare Counties as well.
Over one thousand members of the Estonian Defence League from Pärnu, Saare, Lääne, Tartu, and Jõgeva Counties were invited to take part Western Storm.