United Kingdom personnel based in Estonia as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup have been presented with service medals.
Permanent Secretary of the Estonian Ministry of Defence Kristjan Prikk presented the medals to the U.K. contingent, who arrived at Tapa last autumn within the framework of Exercise Tractable, on Thursday.
"You have demonstrated the ability to move operationally and the capability to reinforce the allied battlegroup stationed in Estonia, both quickly and on a large scale", Prikk said at the presentation, according to a defense ministry press release.
Prikk noted that a message inscribed on the medals, "In Defence of NATO", signifies the importance of the presence of allied soldiers in Estonia.
"By serving here, you have stood for our common values and demonstrated a readiness to defend NATO's territory, when necessary. We greatly appreciate this," he went on.
Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Maj. Gen. Martin Herem was also present at the ceremony.
"Defense Secretary Kristjan Prikk and Head of the EDF, Maj. Gen. Martin Herem, expressed their gratitude to the British soldiers from The Queen's Royal Hussars for leading the NATO Battlegroup Estonia in Tapa," the British Embassy in Tallinn wrote on its social media page.
Exervise Tractable saw personnel from the Queen's Royal Hussars (QRH) armored regiment, which has formed the core of the British-led eFP through the latter half of 2019 to the present, reach Estonia by land, sea and air over a period of nearly a month, last October and November.
The eFP is and/or has been comprised of French, Danish and Belgian troops in addition to the British soldiers, all of whom regularly rotate (the QRH were preceded by the King's Royal Hussars (KRH); the KRH in turn by 1 YORKS heavy infantry batallion). It is one of four battlegroups of its kind, set up in the aftermath of the 2016 Warsaw Summit and which came to fruition from spring the following year. The others are in Latvia (Canadian-led), Lithuania (German-led) and Poland (U.S.-led).
Exercise Tractable dealt with moving large numbers of personnel and materiel across Europe, in addition to the experiences gained by the battlegroup in Tapa, east of Tallinn, and environs.
Editor: Andrew Whyte