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NEWS | July 26, 2021

Reserve Sailors Support NATO Exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

OEIRAS, Portugal — Navy Reserve Sailors participated in a 19-day multinational missile-defense exercise, supporting Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and U.S. 6th Fleet from May 15 to June 2, 2021.   

Exercise At-Sea Demo/Exercise Formidable Shield 2021 (ASD/FS21), sponsored by U.S. Sixth Fleet and conducted by STRIKFORNATO, took place at the U.K. Ministry of Defense's Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland and at Andøya Test Center, Andenes, Norway. 
The purpose of At-Sea Demo/Exercise Formidable Shield was to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. Ten nations participated by sending ships, aircraft, ground assets, and embarked staff in Task Group IAMD, which were Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The exercise involved 16 ships, 31 aircraft, 3,300 troops and 22 missile launches.  

Information Systems Technician 1st Class Nyderia Weems, assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet Detachment 802, supported STRIKFORNATO as the joint communications information systems help desk technician.  

“During the exercise I was responsible for planning and executing the video teleconferencing capabilities for the officers and general staff of other nations,” Weems said. “I enjoyed being able to provide timely customer service to STRIKFORNATO by coordinating network support and learning more about my rate as an IT.” 
When not in uniform, Weems is an early childhood educator. Her use of interactive technology in the classroom has helped to enhance her Navy IT skills, enabling her to provide effective teleconferencing support while on Annual Training (AT) orders. 
“My favorite part of this AT was working with NATO,” said Lt. Noah Furgerson, a native of Hickory Flat, Ga., also assigned to Det. 802. “Working alongside people from such diverse backgrounds and other nationalities is an opportunity rarely afforded in the Reserves. The ease with which Reservists were able to integrate with the multinational staff was truly impressive and professional, and it afforded the opportunity to train in a truly operational setting.”  

Furgerson served as the Battle Watch Captain (BWC) for CTF 154, at the STRIKFORNATO Joint Operations Center (JOC).  As the BWC, he coordinated the daily task group operations and material status brief for the deputy commander of STRIKFORNATO. He also managed exercise event status reporting. His civilian skills as a cyber-infrastructure engineering manager enabled him to better handle the demanding tasks of a BWC and control the information flow in and out of the JOC.

Capt. Glen Viado, former commanding officer of Navy Reserve U.S. Sixth Fleet Maritime Partnership Program Det 118, served as the senior CTF-64 representative at the Hebrides range.   
“My job was to serve as the liaison between the CTF-64 commodore, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), our allied partners of the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum, and the Hebrides range during the execution of the live fire events, Viado said. “I was specifically requested to support the exercise due to my ballistic missile defense background that I gained working with the MDA for 16 years.”  
STRIKFORNATO’s chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Marcus Annibale, commented on the Navy Reserve’s participation in the exercise.
“This was a great opportunity to bring on Navy Reserve personnel into a complex exercise which represents a piece of what STRIKFORNATO would do in great-power competition,” said Annibale.  “This rapid assimilation ability of the Reserve component was critical to the success of At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield and makes our overall NATO team stronger.” 
STRIKFORNATO, based in Oeiras, Portugal, is a rapidly deployable, maritime headquarters that provides scalable command and control across the full spectrum of warfare areas.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.