Masked defense unit participates in independence parade for first time

Members of the masked defense unit during the parade.
Members of the masked defense unit during the parade. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

While more than 900 people took part in the parade on Freedom Square for the 102nd anniversary of the Republic of Estonia on Monday, for some members it was their first time.

This year, for the first time, masked members of the defense league who take part in special operations were present. As is customary in the Special Operations Command, members do not show their faces, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Defense groups are present in all leagues as troops and as they can operate behind enemy lines, they are not allowed to show their faces.

Northern Defense Commander Janno Märk said: "Combat group training focuses on small-unit tactics, intelligence gathering, pioneering and shooting skills. Today, battle group members are experts in distributed combat and asymmetric tactics, and they also contribute to the training of other ground defense units."

There were also many new participants from abroad. Members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Flag Committee were also present for the first time.

Larger foreign units included the U.S. 9th Cavalry Group. The U.S. leads the NATO Battle Group in Lithuania.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Johnson said: "This is a very rare thing. This is a once in a lifetime experience for us. We don't get to go to many parades, especially independence parades where you see this many countries, this many different vehicles participate. This is a really unique experience for us."

Training aircraft from the Czech Republic also participated in a flyover which are based at Ämari Air Base and the NATO Allies were represented by the Belgians who are stationed at the NATO air policing base in Lithuania. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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