The Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) 2nd Infantry Brigade celebrated its eighth anniversary on Monday, with brigade commander Colonel Mati Tikerpuu decorating some of the most outstanding soldiers and staff at a ceremony at Tapa base.
Col. Tikerpuu said: "When you consider the brigade's eighth anniversary, I would see it more as its 18th birthday, when high school years have been completed and a certain level of maturity has been attained."
"We are standing on the threshold of changes and decisions," he added, continuing the analogy but likely also with the brigade's planned full mechanization in mind.
Soldiers from the brigade's HQ, from the elite Kuperjanov infantry battalion, support and communications units and other personnel took part in the ceremony, attended by invited civilian dignitaries and guests.
During the ceremony, awards were presented to members of the 2nd Infantry Brigade who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary service
The EDF's 2nd Infantry Brigade is the main EDF component responsible for the military defense of the southern half of Estonia.
Its peacetime composition includes the Kuperjanov infantry battalion, the rear echelon battalion and headquarters and communications company. Remaining units would be installed during a conflict situation, made up of EDF reservists who receive regular, annual training.
A recent initiative has also seen EDF reservists – primarily former conscripts who remain on reserve lists in the years following their full-time service – being vectored to specific regional Defense League (Kaitseliit) districts, depending on where in Estonia the reservist resides. The Defense League is a volunteer body which augments the EDF and is recruited regionally.
The Estonian Navy (Merevägi) and Air Force (Õhuvägi) – the latter does not take on conscripts - are organizationally a part of the EDF.
Both 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades are designated heavy infantry units; the reservist-Defense League arrangement noted above would constitute light infantry tasked with a defensive role.
In addition, both infantry brigades and other EDF and Defense League personnel regularly train with NATO allies, including those based at Tapa with the U.K.-led enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).
Editor: Andrew Whyte