World War I devastated the territory of what became the state of Latvia, and on 18 November 1918, in Riga, the People’s Council of Latvia proclaimed the independence of the new country. A freely elected Constituent assembly convened in May 1920, and adopted a liberal constitution in February 1922.
On 5 October 1939, after the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the German invasion of Poland,Latvia was forced to accept a “mutual assistance” pact with the Soviet Union, which led eventually to the Soviet Union incorporating Latvia on 5 August 1940, as The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. On 21 June 1941 German troops attacked Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa and Latvia was under the control of German forces by early July. Soviet troops reentered and ‘liberated’ Latvia from the Nazi German forces in October 1944. Latvia then remained under Soviet control until full independence was restored to The Republic of Latvia on 21 August 1991.
Corporal Nathan Heckel and Private Stewart Alpert – both from 6 Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) sniper cell on the range in Baghdad, August 2007.
Photo by CPL Robert Nyffenegger, 1 Joint Public Affairs Unit
Copyright: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence
Arabian Gulf (July 22, 2004) – Capt. Anthony Kurta, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Two Four (COMDESRON 24), observes the boarding procedures demonstrated by the British Royal Marines aboard HMS Somerset (F 82).
U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2 (NAO/SW) Michael Sandberg
Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic
British-trained members of the Iraqi Navy have conducted their first patrol of Iraqi territorial waters surrounding the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) in their new Swift patrol boat.The Royal Navy has been training the Iraqi Navy in Umm Qasr as part of a coalition training team since 2004. Most recently they have been supporting the Iraqi Navy by delivering Swift patrol boat training and mentoring the future Iraqi Navy training staff.In advance of the first operational patrol the crew had to complete a final sea assessment conducted by a joint Iraqi and coalition team. They passed with flying colours and proceeded on patrol immediately.The importance of the patrol to the Iraqi Navy was emphasised by it occurring on Iraqi National Army Day – 7 January 2011.Lieutenant Abdul, the captain of patrol boat 301, said: “It was a significant day, especially since the patrol was part of the Iraqi National Army Day.”Captain Gary Sutton, Commanding Officer Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission – Navy [ITAM-N] (Umm Qasr), said: “Today the Iraqi Navy has made a huge step forward with the first Swiftships patrol of ABOT. I am proud of their accomplishment, but I would also like to acknowledge the achievements of the highly professional training and advisory coalition team in ITAM-N whose training of the Iraqi Navy made this possible.”This new class of modern patrol boat marks a significant step forward in the operational capability of the Iraqi Navy.Built by Swiftships in the USA, these high-speed, 35-metre vessels are armed with the 30mm British MSI gun and are ideal for their role of defending the vitally important Iraqi offshore oil infrastructure.The Iraqi Navy of 2,500 personnel, 11 patrol boats and 35 fast attack craft will be joined over the next 12 months by a further 14 Swift patrol boats.
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