Today the small Baltic state of Estonia held a parade to mark its independence from Russia. During the parade Estonia showed off some of its military hardware. Now, for obvious reasons I was not able to attend in person but the U.S Mission to NATO’s social media team was kind enough to provide a link to a live feed.
The first vehicles to come out were the heaviest. Estonian XA-188 Armored Personnel Carriers. These were followed by American Stryker APCs from the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Calvary Regiment based in Rose Barracks in Vilseck. This is the 2nd time the Dragoons have participated in Estonia’s independence day parade. The Strykers have been stationed in Estonia as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The Strykers were followed by a variety of lighter vehicles both armed and unarmed. In the next photo we can see Estonian Army trucks towing several D-30 122mm howitzers.
In another photo we see more light artillery. This time soldiers ride along in a light utility vehicle with a Swedish Pvpj 1110 90mm recoiless rifle.
The Estonians also showed off some logistical vehicles like this fuel truck.
The celebration was capped off with marching band.
All in all, it was very interesting display. from start to finish it took less than half an hour. As someone who is used to watching military parades put on by large armies it was a nice change of pace. There were no fly overs or main battle tanks. (Estonia doesn’t really have it’s own combat air capacity and operates no main battle tanks). The crowds were not massive either. Opposite from the church in the 2nd picture was a small hill where families sat watching the event.
The American presence at the parade was also interesting. With their machine guns covered and patches either taken off or facing away you got the sense that they were trying to be more low key. Recall the parade last year where the same regiment flew huge American flags on their APCs and marched down the street with their weapon stations clearly visible.You did get the felling that they were attempting to downplay their presence even as it is increasing. Either way, Estonia remains a free and independent state, and that is what is important and certainly worth celebrating.