Latvian Chief of Defense visits Army Europe headquarters


Photo by Sgt. Daniel ColeLt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of Army Europe, speaks with Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube (left), the Latvian Chief of Defense of Armed Forces, April 20.

Photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of Army Europe, speaks with Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube (left), the Latvian Chief of Defense of Armed Forces, April 20.

Army Europe headquarters welcomed Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube, the Latvian Chief of Defense of Armed Forces, April 20, who met with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of Army Europe, during a visit to discuss ongoing exercises and future opportunities to build the alliance.

“We feel much safer and stronger because of the alliance and because we have friends like the United States,” Graube said during a small media event at the end of his visit.

The general also spoke about the ongoing situation in the Baltic states and how the partnership between Latvian and U.S. Soldiers is imperative to deterring Russian aggression.


“It is not only just a political statement, it is real, their forces are there,” Graube said speaking about Russia’s recent flyovers and submarine activity in Latvia’s air and maritime zones.

“Because of the situation around my country’s borders, your [U.S.] help and assistance is crucial and the United States is still exercising side by side with Latvian Soldiers,” the defense chief added.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Brett MillerLatvian Pvt. 1st Class Janis Bluman, a member of Headquarters Signal Company, helps a Latvian boy put on some Latvian military equipment on June 11, 2014. Latvian children visited Adazi Training Area during a summer camp they were attending for youth enrichment.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Brett Miller
Latvian Pvt. 1st Class Janis Bluman, a member of Headquarters Signal Company, helps a Latvian boy put on some Latvian military equipment on June 11, 2014. Latvian children visited Adazi Training Area during a summer camp they were attending for youth enrichment.

Turning to a more positive note, Graube mentioned the growing friendships he had witnessed over the past year between the two nations. He insisted that exercises taking place fostered a very important social aspect to partnership training and that he was very happy seeing this.

“These exercises are not only a great opportunity for Soldiers to train together for future deployments but it is also about friendship,” Graube said. “A very important piece that we should not forget about is the social part, they are living together and training together. We are friends.”