Georgian Troops Complete Training by U.S. Marines
By Sgt. Michael Hjelmstad
| | May 22, 2003
KRTSANISI, GEORGIA -- A May 10 graduation ceremony marked the completion of U.S. European Command's training of the 16th Mountain Battalion from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
The ceremony took place in the capital city of Tbilisi and was attended by a list of dignitaries that included Georgian President Eduard Shevradnadze, U.S. Ambassador Richard Miles, and Major Generals Arnold Fields and Jack A. Davis of the United States Marine Corps.
Known as the Georgia Train and Equip Program, the joint military operation is evidence of the strong working relationship between the United States and Georgia. Since the end of the Cold War, a solid partnership dedicated to the promotion of peace and stability has been developed. That relationship has been enhanced by an open exchange of ideas on subjects ranging from military structure and organization to operations and equipment training.
Broadcast nationally on Georgian television, the event marked the first group to complete training since Marine Corps Forces Europe assumed operational control of the program last December.
"The road along the way was long and arduous, however your work and perseverance carried you through," said Maj. Scott Campbell, Task Force GTEP Commander. "You have been provided with the basics to work together as a team of soldiers," Campbell said at the commencement of the 16th Mountain Division that ended nearly 4 months of training.
U.S. Marines will begin to train another Georgian infantry battalion May 24. This evolution will focus on light infantry operations with basic individual training in combat lifesaving, radio communication and land navigation. Training will also be conducted on subjects like squad and platoon tactics and urban operations. Field training exercises and end-of-cycle testing will ensure comprehension of training and enhance the capability of the Georgian military to provide security and stability to their region.