DVIDS – News – Building the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Baltics Strengthens US and NATO Capabilities, Supports Regional Security


AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia – The roar of jet planes is a common background noise as Chris Bailey and Jüri Saljukov, crewmates of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, check on the progress of construction projects like the new facility bulk fuel storage here.

The jets are part of NATO’s largest collective Baltic Air Policing mission that has been underway since Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia joined the alliance in 2004, with other enhanced off-base Air Policing missions here in Estonia operating since 2014 following Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

The new bulk fuel storage facility is the latest military infrastructure project worth more than $70 million that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been managing for several years at facilities in Estonia, as well as in the neighboring Baltic countries, Lithuania and Latvia. Most of the construction is part of U.S. European Command’s European Deterrence Initiative and the projects are aimed at strengthening the U.S. deterrence posture, increasing the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, to support the collective defense and security of NATO allies and to enhance the security and capability of American allies and partners.

“NATO is doing the Baltic Air Policing from the airbase here, which can sometimes put pressure on us – like when the Hot Hazardous Cargo Pad runway connection had to be done in 90 days, we don’t have therefore not had an impact on this mission – but it is also a great reminder of the real importance of our projects here, ”said Chris Bailey, project engineer of the European district, which supports the mission of construction of the US Army Corps of Engineers in Estonia and the neighboring countries of Latvia and Lithuania since 2014. “I think with the current events in the world today, this work has an even greater impact for Estonia, the Baltic countries and NATO.

The majority of military construction managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Baltics has taken place at air bases, including Amari Air Base in Estonia, Lielvarde Air Base in Latvia, and Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania . Typical projects include fighter aprons, cargo platforms, squadron operations facilities, storage facilities, and other projects enabling Baltic, US, and allied air forces to perform missions.

The projects aim both to increase the capacity of the armies of the Baltic allies operating in their bases, but also to facilitate the operations of the United States and other NATO allies in the bases for missions such as the police of air or other operations as needed.

For example, the bulk fuel storage facility at Amari Air Base will increase the base’s operations capacity, allowing more aircraft to refuel and fly missions. And in addition to the loading bay, aircraft apron, and other airfield improvements that facilitate air operations, base-delivered squadron operations facilities are used to plan and direct air policing and other missions, such as delivering aid and supplies to Ukraine.

The Europe District also managed a handful of projects at military bases in the Baltics, including the Tapa military base and its associated training field in Estonia and the Adazi military base in Latvia.

In Tapa, District Europe managed the construction of various facilities, including vehicle maintenance and storage facilities, which are used by more than 1,000 soldiers who are part of the UK-led multinational battle group of NATO based there.

The Europe District also managed various improvements to the Tapa Training Ranges, which was most recently one of the sites for the DEFENDER-Europe 22 multinational exercises.

In addition to improving the quality of life at the Adazi military base in Latvia, home to a Canadian-led multinational NATO battle group, the European District is working with the 7th Training Command U.S. Army to provide aerial imagery and mapping support to the nearby Adazi Training Area so they can enhance future training activities there.

Estonian Jüri Saljukov has been the Local National Quality Assurance Engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers since 2018, supporting on-site supervision of construction projects throughout Estonia.

Growing up before Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Saljukov said he was especially proud to help carry out projects aimed at maintaining Estonia’s sovereignty.

“It gives me a good feeling to be able to work on these projects that have a big impact on our Estonian forces and our allies here,” Saljukov said. “It makes me very proud to play a role in the security of our country.”

Bailey noted that he could feel this pride and enthusiasm in the Baltics when working with host country partners and solving problems that usually arise in construction projects.

“People in Estonia, as well as in Latvia and Lithuania, are very enthusiastic and very grateful partners in the work we are doing here and are always looking to find solutions and ways forward because they understand the importance of these facilities. EDI.” Bailey said. “I worked here, I learned about the host country and the Baltic region, I got to know a lot of people and you come to feel for people and you want them to maintain their independence and their sovereignty, so I’m proud to be able to support that through these projects.

Date taken: 29.08.2022
Date posted: 30.08.2022 03:13
Story ID: 428273
Location: AMARI AIR BASE, 37, EE

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