Special Operations Forces representing seven countries stood in formation as part of the official opening ceremony for Jackal Stone 10 multi-national special operations exercise on Sept. 20 at the 21st Tactical Airbase in Swidwin, Poland.
The exercise, co-hosted in both Poland and Lithuania this year, is coordinated with U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), also includes SOF operators from Latvia, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine participating to enhance their capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures, while sharing common doctrinal concepts.
After extending a personal welcome to the exercise participants, Polish Minister of National Defense Bogdan Klich, addressed the significance of the exercise.
“Special operations in the world today are becoming increasingly important in the conduct of combat operations,” Klich said. “And exercises like this check the ability of allied and international cooperation, which is essential for the success of the Allies.”
Jackal Stone, which is SOCEUR's capstone training event, brought approximately 1,300 members of special operations together to locations throughout Poland and Lithuania to not only improve interoperability amongst each other, but also to embrace friendships.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Repass, SOCEUR commanding general, emphasized the importance of teamwork as a crucial element for all the participants, not only during Jackal Stone, but for all joint and combined missions.
“There are many firsts here, most notably the true multi-national nature of the three subordinate task groups. It is unmatched in our experience, and reflective of the true nature of how far we have come together in the past several years,” Repass said. “The participant nations have sent their best and brightest troops and staffs to conduct this exercise.”
Repass noted that all of the participants came to the exercise with a willingness to learn and to work together “better than ever.”
“I would like to note that the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Staff (CJSOTF) is the best trained multi-national staff I have seen during any previous exercise,” Repass said.
He also took a moment to praise Lithuania for co-hosting Jackal Stone 10.
“I want to also thank the Lithuanian government for hosting two other exercise locations in addition to what you see here today in Poland,” Repass said.
As the new commander of the Polish Special Operations Forces Command, Col. Piotr Patalong embraced the exercise as an opportunity to continue the development of the SOF operators under his command.
“We will gain new knowledge, new skills and experience,” Patalong said. “The exercise, which starts today, will not only test our professionalism, but also will check interoperability of CJSOTF and Special Operation Task Groups (SOTGs) as well as let us gain new knowledge, skills and experience in planning and leading allied special operations.”
In closing, Patalong wished the participants success in the exercise and their stay in Poland worthwhile.
“May the knowledge and experience gained here be profitable for the future of your countries and our cooperation in fighting terrorism,” he concluded.