HOHENFELS, Germany --
Since 2009, the Marine Corps has partnered with the Georgian Armed Forces to build a strong partnership; able to withstand the stresses of combat and enhance the relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Georgia, both personally and professionally.
Through nine rotations of the Georgia Deployment Program-International Security Assistance Force, Marine Corps Forces, Europe, worked in concert with Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group to create a training curriculum based on the needs of ISAF and the Georgia Armed Forces for their deployments to Afghanistan.
During the most recent mission-readiness exercise, the training focused on “brilliance in the basics.” This broke infantry tactics down to the squad level, and through the course of instruction, the Georgian soldiers graduated to platoon, company and battalion-level operations. This training method allows a gradual familiarization with tactics; culminating in the synchronization of not only their forces, but allows for a more seamless integration with the regimental combat teams they will join in Afghanistan.
This is the second rotation where Georgian Armed Forces have designated two battalions for duty Afghanistan in support of the ISAF mission.
"The 33rd and 42nd battalions have demonstrated once again the professionalism of Georgia's Armed Forces, providing 50 percent of the combat power in Regimental Combat Team 7 and we are very appreciative of Georgia's continuous commitment to supporting ISAF efforts in Afghanistan," said Brig. Gen. Scott O’Meara, MFE commander. "It was great to see the interactions among the Georgian soldiers and Marines. There is a special bond between the two."
The GAF continue to be a strong partner in Afghanistan and have proven instrumental in accomplishing the ISAF mission along with other allies and partner nations.
The most recent MRE honed in on 27 skills, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the GAF soldiers to include: marksmanship, common skills, medical training, driver training , scout platoon, operational culture / language, logistics, intelligence, communications, mortars, counter-IED training, biometrics, combat hunter, command operations center training, squad training, squad-field exercises, platoon training, platoon field exercises, motorized platoons, company training, company field exercises, Company and Battalion HQ Staff training, district stability framework, Battalion field exercises and culminating with the final Mission Readiness Exercise (MRE).
“Each rotation continues to get better. We are continually tweaking the pre-deployment training program based on the guidance of the gaining force command, in this case RCT-7, and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” explained Lt. Col. Christopher Phelps, Security Cooperation Officer for MFE. “We continue to dial in the enabler Marines to allow the best support for missions once the Georgian Armed Forces’ battalions deploy to theater.”
The GDP-I is scheduled to run through 2014, with two more rotations of two battalions deploying in support of ISAF and linking up with Marine Corps regimental combat teams and comprising 50 percent of the operating forces in the RCT’s areas of operation.
The GAF soldiers in this rotation have an advantage over past iterations because they have GAF veterans of GDP-I, who have returned from deployment in Afghanistan serving as exercise controllers for this MRE. This shows how far GDP-I has come because now not only are GAF soldiers shouldering 50 percent of the RCT’s battle space, they are also participating in training their fellow soldiers during the post-deployment training cycle.
Georgian Armed Forces’ 33rd and 42nd battalions are slated to deploy in support of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and will be responsible for the battle space adjacent to RCT-7.
“The Georgians have been and continue to be stalwart partners who are interested in staying in Afghanistan as long as Marines will be there,” Phelps added.