NORTH WEST TROOPS TRAIN WITH NATO IN LATVIA (pictured) Around 250 soldiers from across the North West have been in Latvia taking part in the NATO led Exercise Silver Arrow. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 LANCS) have been working with troops from Latvia, Norway, Estonia and the USA as part of a 2,000-strong ‘Battlegroup’ sized military training scenario. It was an opportunity for British Forces to work alongside NATO partner nations as part of the UK’s commitment to the collective security of the alliance. All NATO members share training opportunities but Silver Arrow was the latest in a series of Autumn exercises set in Eastern Europe. In September the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which also recruits from the North West, travelled to Poland as part of Exercise Sabre Junction, and in November 120 soldiers of Chester-based 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment will take part in Exercise Iron Sword in Lithuania. The sharing of skills, equipment and techniques between NATO partners ensures confidence in the security guarantees that come with Alliance membership. Exercise Silver Arrow was a blank firing exercise which took place between September 29 and October 5 at the Adazi Training Area, near Riga, Latvia. Norwegian and Estonian Forces played the role of ‘enemy’ for the purpose of the exercise, while 2 LANCS, Latvian and US Forces were ‘friendlies’. 2 LANCS is a ‘light role’ Infantry Battalion, mainly fighting on foot, but has been working alongside US Forces’ Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Estonians’ Piranha Fighting Vehicle. The training marks a return to the Regiment’s traditional ground fighting role and away from the peacekeeping, training and mentoring job its soldiers have performed in Afghanistan over recent years. Soldiers of 2 LANCS concluded its final tour in Afghanistan exactly 12 months ago in October 2013.