RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Maj. Daniel Manning, Airpower Capabilities Team - Baltics chief at Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, received the Lithuanian Armed Forces Medal of Merit for his team's work during the past year with Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
Manning's team, a combination of staff members at HQ USAFE and NATO Component Command Air Ramstein, provides strategic and operational advice to Lithuania and other Baltic region allies on the development of airpower capabilities.
The major was presented the medal Nov. 26 by Lithuania's top military officer, Maj. Gen. Arvydas Pocius, Chief of Defense of the Republic of Lithuania.
"I was honored to be recognized on behalf of the entire [team]," Manning said. "This effort can serve as a model for future engagements with other regions while we continue to work with our Baltic allies to build on this year's work."
Most importantly, the team developed a comprehensive concept of operations for the Baltic region nations' airpower capabilities. It also conducted symposiums, numerous face-to-face discussions with counterparts and senior leader visits. For example, the team took the Lithuanian and Estonian air chiefs to observe Slovenia's flight operations since Slovenia uses the type aircraft recommended for Lithuanian and Estonian concepts of operations and has an air force similar in size and budget.
Building partnerships is one of USAFE's priorities and the team is a key part of that effort.
"The Lithuanians' professionalism and forward thinking were remarkable," the major said. "Receiving this award on behalf of the [team] is tangible evidence of USAFE's ability to build partnerships with our allies through consistent, personal contact."
The Medal of Merit is a Lithuanian Armed Forces Chief of Defense-level award for distinguished service in the development and strengthening of Lithuanian armed forces. The medal is awarded to Lithuanian soldiers and foreign soldiers on special occasions, for personal sacrifice in an official capacity under extreme conditions, initiative and strong leadership of the department through difficult tasks of higher management in extreme conditions, commitment to saving other lives through training or exercises; and distinction in international missions abroad.