Gallery: Snap exercise Okas ended on Sunday ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

On Sunday evening reservist snap exercise Okas ended with the Estonian Defence Forces forming two battalions of reservists and with a 77 percent turnout rate.

Last week the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) sent out 2,170 invitations to reservists to join the snap exercise. These were received by 1,902 military reservists and 1,464 joined the exercise, which is a turnout rate of 77 percent.

Both the 61st Logistics Battalion and the 23rd Infantry Battalion were manned and the battalions reached the required level of combat capability, ERR reported on Sunday. 

ERR also reported 268 reservists did not acknowledge the summons or report why they could not attend. The defense forces will now determine the reasons for their absence.

"The overall objective of exercise Okas was to train and evaluate unit combat readiness and post-formation activities, and this goal has been achieved," Lieutenant Colonel Mart Sirel, commander of the 23rd Infantry Battalion said. "We gathered valuable learning insights to improve the EDF and defense league readiness procedures and activities, and we can only learn these lessons through practice."

On October 15, the government summoned the 61st Rear Battalion Reserve troops, who were ordered to immediately appear at the assembly site. The next day, it was decided to extend the order, and the 23rd Infantry Battalion's reserve troops were also enlisted.

"Looking at this number of reservists, it is a proud feeling that Estonia is protected - the will to protect is really strong. The defense model is built on reservists which is why we need to call them together to practice," said Sirel.

On Saturday he told ETV's Aktuaalne kaamera the exercise was a good chance to see what bottlenecks occur and how they can be streamlined in the future, specifically mentioning reservists waiting too long to collect weapons and distributing food.   

The first Okas snap exercise took place in 2016 and the fifth gathering ended on Sunday. Continuing training exercises control the operation of the entire national defense chain of command, from government decision-making to reservist deployment in the Rapid Reaction Structure. With the newly completed exercise, several units were invited for the first time to consecutive training sessions.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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