U.S. Marines, Georgian Soldiers Stage Joint Drills

Hundreds of Georgian servicemen and U.S. marines launched on July 18 two-week long joint military exercises at Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.

About 350 marines based in Constanta, Romania as part of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force 11, as well as marines from the Anti-Terrorism Battalion and 450 soldiers from Georgia’s 4th infantry brigade take part in the joint exercises Agile Spirit 2011, according to the Georgian MoD.

“The focus of the exercise is to increase interoperability between the forces and exchange and enhance each other’s capacity in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations,” the Georgian MoD said in a statement.

Black Sea Rotational Force is a multi-year program by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe to deploy U.S. -based Marines and sailors on a rotating basis to installations in Europe with a goal to conduct multilateral security cooperation activities and joint trainings with partner nations in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions.

The MoD said that Agile Spirit is the first of what is scheduled to become an annual exercise, which will supplement other military trainings such as preparing Georgian soldiers by the U.S. Marine Corps for deployment in Afghanistan.

“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 Lt. Col. Nelson S. Cardella, commanding officer, Black Sea Rotational Force 11. 

“We are very glad that Georgia hosts this military exercise this year as the military of both countries are working together,” Deputy Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Col. Gigi Kalandadze, said.

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