IZMIR, Turkey – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John Thomson, Commander of NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), hosted dozens of distinguished guests as the command celebrated NATO's 70th Anniversary at the LANDCOM Headquarters at 9 a.m., April 4, 2019. The purpose of the NATO 70th Anniversary event was for LANDCOM military and civilian personnel to reflect on and celebrate seven decades of Euro-Atlantic cooperation and the most successful military Alliance in history. During his remarks, Thomson explained the history of NATO. "NATO is unquestionably the most powerful and successful alliance in history,"Thomson said. "We should be proud to belong to such a magnificent team that is dedicated to our freedom, shared values, and collective defence."
The celebration event included a parade with a military band, historical remarks by the commander, a cake cutting ceremony, a military skills competition with an awards presentation, and a festive BBQ feast. Twelve teams competed during the military skills competition, which consisted of six stations. The stations were: #1 6-km ruck march, #2 vehicle identification, #3 obstacle course, #4 evaluate a casualty, #5 400m litter carry, and #6 NATO history. The LANDCOM G2 team won the competition.
"Standing together, NATO Allies successfully won the Cold War," Thomson said. "NATO provides a pillar of stability in this uncertain world. Our world is changing, so is NATO, to ensure we remain fit for purpose and can act as the speed of relevance. [We must] rapidly respond 360 degrees, to compete short of war, to deter, and if needed, to fight and win. We will do that together, as an Alliance." Happy birthday, NATO!
By U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Olson, LANDCOM Public Affairs