Riga, Latvia.(September 24, 2023): In this remarkable photo by Staff Sergeant Jesus Sepulveda Torres, a Marine assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/6, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit appears to be directing both sea and air forces ashore using a handy laptop. This amphibious landing scene unfolded during Northern Coast 2023; a German-led multinational exercise hosted by the Latvian Armed Forces.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Latvia in 1922 following its independence after World War I. In World War II, Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and the country finally claimed its independence in 1991.
Latvia and the United States have signed treaties on investment, trade, intellectual property protection, extradition, mutual legal assistance. Latvia has enjoyed most-favored-nation treatment with the United States since December 1991.
As a member of NATO, Latvia strategically positioned in the heart of the Baltic States with a border with Russia in the East and Lithuania to the south. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine spurred Latvia to increase defense spending to 2.25% of its gross national product and the nation plans to quadruple military spending over the decade. The U.S. provides Lativa with an estimated $200 million in security assistance including $145 million in Foreign Military Financing to promote interoperability with NATO forces.
The Marines serve aboard the Antonio-class amphibious ship USS Mesa Verde on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations.