Open Day – “Agile Spirit 2011”
On July 22, the opening day of the military exercise “Agile Spirit 2011” was held at the Vaziani Training Area.
The combined military exercise code named “Agile Spirit 2011”, with the participation of U.S. Marines and the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces, began on July 18.
The focus of the exercise was to increase interoperability between the Georgian and US forces and exchange and enhance each other’s capability in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations.
The Defence Minister of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia, the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John R. Bass, and other representatives of the Diplomatic Corps attended the military exercise.
Ambassador Bass briefed those attending on the importance of strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the two countries: “I am pleased to be here to participate in this distinguished visitors’ portion of the exercise. This is an important part of our ongoing defence cooperation between the United States and Georgia. Today, for this period of the exercise- for these two weeks- we have US marines training alongside Georgian soldiers and also helping train Georgian soldiers for the types of mission that frankly both sets of soldiers are going to be experiencing in Afghanistan. It is fully consistent with our commitment to support the deployment, training and success of Georgia in the coalition in Afghanistan and to address the common challenges that we are facing there to help stabilize Afghanistan and to defeat the Taliban and to bring the stability in that region and in the world.”
The scenario of the military-field exercise “Agile Spirit” provided to the soldiers was as close as possible to the real situation troops will face – the incidents are simulated according to the ongoing conflict (Afghanistan). The exercise was conducted by Georgian soldiers and US Marines together. They were carrying out “convoy, cordon and search operation.” They were also trained to clear buildings of terrorists, seizing and disarming insurgents.
The Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia spoke on the importance of the joint exercise, “The participation of the Georgian military servicemen in such exercises is very important. The main goal of the exercise is to raise combat capability of those battalions which are taking part in this joint exercise. In this case, American as well as Georgian soldiers are undergoing training together under the equal circumstances. Consequently, the Georgian Army will have high quality combat units, and that is the product of such exercises and trainings”.
The large-scale exercise involved 350 Marines from the Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 11 based in Constanta, Romania, an Anti-Terrorism Battalion based out of Bessemer, Ala. and 450 military servicemen from the Georgian 4th Infantry Brigade.
Head of Operational Preparation Division, J-3 Operational Planning Department of the Joint Staff of the GAF’ Colonel Zurab Tomauri’ was commanding the exercise on the Georgian side and on the US side - LtCol. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, Black Sea Rotational Force 11.
“Our Marines are eager to train with the Georgian Armed Forces to continue to build on an already strong partnership between our two countries,” said LtCol. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, Black Sea Rotational Force 11. “We are grateful to the Georgian Armed Forces and to the people of Georgia for hosting this important training and contributing so much to regional and international security.”
“We are very glad that Georgia hosts this military exercise this year as the military of both countries are working together. Such kind of joint exercises are necessary for them. I hope that each participant of the exercise will successfully carry out their tasks,” declared the Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of GAF, Col Gigi Kalandadze. The combined exercise “Agile Spirit 2011” was officially closed on August 1.