EDF Kuperjanov battalion wins annual reconnaissance challenge
The Estonian Defense Force's (EDF) Kuperjanov Battalion won this year's annual Admiral Pitka Reconnaissance Challenge on Saaremaa, at the weekend.
Defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) said of the event that: "The Admiral Pitka Recon Challenge demonstrates our solidarity, commitment, strength and skills, shared equally by professionals and volunteers."
"Various forms of defense cooperation with our allies and partners are crucial to strengthening the deterrence and defense of NATO and the EU as a whole," he added.
A team from the Combat Engineer's Battalion (Pioneeripataljon) came second, with the volunteer Defense League's (Kaitseliit) Pärnu County district team coming third.
The Admiral Pitka Recon Challenge is held in a different region every year, so as to minimize the home field advantage of local teams.
The aim of the contest, which lasts over several days, is to measure the level of training, armament and equipment as well as morale of the participants in conditions as close to reality as possible.
A Finnish team placed the highest among entries from outside Estonia, in sixth place, while the Saaremaa district of Naiskodukaitse, the Defense League's women's organization came 13th.
Twenty-six teams started, 22 finished, with two withdrawals from among domestic entries and two from the foreign entries.
Defense League teams represented Harju, Järva, Pärnu, Rapla, Tartu, Jõgeva and Valga districts, along with Tallinn, while NATO nations represented were: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the U.S. No team from the U.K. contingent based at Tapa took part.
Teams from the prison service and the Police and Border Guard Board also took part.
The competition started Wednesday and finished Saturday.
The EDF comprises the regular army, navy and air force, with both conscripts and regular members, while the Defense League consists of volunteers recruited regionally. The EDF maintains reserve lists of former members, who are expected to attend training sessions at times.
Admiral Johan Pitka was commander of the Estonian Navy (Merevägi) during the 1918-1920 War of Independence.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte