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Lithuania: Gaiziunai Training Area

Apr. 29, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Lithuanian troops take part in a multinational training exercise in 2012. The U.S. Army recently sent a company of paratroopers to Lithuania's Gaiziunai Training Area. (Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images)
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LOCATION: In a rural patch of central Lithuania, the Gaiziunai Training Area is near the town of Rukla and situated along a recently upgraded rail line. During the Soviet era, several thousand Russian troops were stationed at the base, which has barracks, an armory and infantry training facilities.

MISSION: The U.S. Army recently sent a company of paratroopers to Gaiziunai, where the Lithuanian Army maintains its primary combat training facilities for its land forces. It has also been the site of some joint NATO training exercises and joint training between Lithuanian troops and U.S. Special Forces personnel. A nearby air base was shut down after the Soviet military left and is no longer operational.

LIFESTYLE: The region is sparsely populated and covered with scrubby pine forests. The military base is about a 45-minute drive to Lithuania’s second-largest city, Kaunas, which has a casino, several sports bars and hosts an annual jazz festival in the spring.

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