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“Agile Spirit 2015”

Friday, July 24
The final demonstrative field training (FTX) of the multinational military exercise “Agile Spirit 2015” has been held on Vaziani firing range on July 21st . Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Colonel Roman Jokhadze, officials of the Defence Ministry and General Staff, Military Attaches accredited to Georgia, Deputy Commander U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Colonel James Donnellan, JFTC Deputy Commander, Brigadier General Laszlo Szabo attended the Distinguished Visitors’ Day (DVD).

Along with the Georgian military servants and US marines, Romanian and Bulgarian personnel were involved in the company-level multinational task group. As part of the practical demonstration, participants of the training carried out attack in an urban area and undertook counter-measures using the armored vehicles and UH-1H Iroquois military helicopters for evacuation.

Deputy Chief of General Staff, Colonel Roman Jokhadze, underscored the importance of the multinational military exercise open to NATO partners and level of preparedness of the Georgian military personnel. “The exercise is being held for the fifth time in Georgia, but for the first time, NATO countries – Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia - got involved in the multinational exercise along with the U.S. partners. This exercise has demonstrated once again that our military personnel are ready to participate in NATO multinational exercises,” Colonel Roman Jokhadze said.

After the field exercise Commander of the military exercise “Agile Spirit 2015” the guests summarized the exercise and discussed its significance. “This is the first major exercise in Georgia that’s associated with the Substantial Package which was granted to Georgia during the Wales Summit. This is the first one connected with NATO where you have the NATO partners involved as observers in Georgia as open to NATO partners. The Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) which will officially open in August will plan future exercises of this nature in Georgia. So we can expect regular series of exercises to be conducted in Georgia. This will help to enhance not only Georgia’s capabilities but Georgia’s relationship with NATO and the ability of partners to work with Georgia to work closer with NATO. So Georgia will become a more fundamental part of NATO’s engagement with partners, particularly in this region. The Joint Training and Evaluation Center will help that and exercises like this will continue to help that process,” declared the Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia, William Lahue.

Deputy Commander U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Colonel James Donnellan, thanked the Georgian side for hosting this exercise and expressed hope that such exercises would be continued in the future. “What you saw here is a great example of the tactical interoperability of our forces on the ground. What maybe you did not see is what we just witnessed back at the brigade headquarters which was some great interoperability at a higher level of operating at the brigade level. We, in the Marine Corps, in the U.S. ,have great experience on the ground with our Georgian partners and our NATO allies at the battalion level. What the exercise did was to give the Georgians an opportunity to lead a multinational brigade level headquarters and integrate with our NATO allies and with the U.S. partners. It has been a very good success.”

NATO planned a media tour to cover the military exercise. Representatives of the Georgian media also reported about the military training from the firing range. After the field exercise the guests could view the exhibited military equipment on the territory of the IV Mechanized Brigade. Among the guests were the EUMM observers.

“Agile Spirit 2015” is a multinational military exercise open to NATO partners carried out under the framework of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. One of the priority directions of the package Georgia was granted at the Wales Summit is conducting NATO exercises in Georgia.

The exercise offers best opportunities to improve interoperability and teamwork among NATO allies and partners. The aim of the command and staff training is to streamline interaction during conventional operations and getting familiar with military tactics of the participants.

On the following day, Georgian and foreign military servicemen gathered for the last time on the drill ground of the IV Mechanized Brigade in Vaziani as part of the military exercise Agile Spirit 2015. The Georgian, American, Bulgarian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Latvian military servicemen were sharing their experience before the official closing ceremony of the military exercise.

Foreign military personnel who participated in the exercise for the first time in Georgia said that they had acquired many new friends. The U.S. Marine Public Affairs Officer, Joe Caldwell, arrived in Georgia for the second time. He says that he is very happy to meet old friends. U.S. Officer noted the progress the Georgian Armed Forces have made throughout the last year.

Unlike the U.S. military servants, the majority of foreign participants visited Georgia for the first time. Colonel Margaret Mikhailov, Chief of Staff of the 61st Mechanized Brigade of the Bulgarian Army expressed gratitude towards the Georgian hosts. As he said building friendship among the foreign participants is one of the great successes of “Agile Spirit 2015”.

Traditionally the closing ceremony was opened by the Georgian State Anthem. High ranking military officials addressed the participants of the training. Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Colonel Roman Jokhadze handed over the certificates to the American, Bulgarian and Romanian officers.

Georgian military servicemen and their foreign partners will return to their units. Georgia will again host the multinational military exercise next year.