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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

United States Marine Corps

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
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Marines share combat experience with Georgian counterparts

By Gunnery Sgt. Alexis Mulero | | February 21, 2012

A Georgian Scout Platoon showed their mettle to their Marine mentors while engaged in a fierce firefight against a pack of enemy insurgents during a mission rehearsal exercise at Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 17.

The firefight broke out while the Georgian soldiers from Delta Company, 23rd Light Infantry Battalion, were on a mission to locate the enemy’s command post to gain valuable information about the enemy, its size, capabilities and the terrain that surrounds their post prior to the unit conducting a battalion clearance exercise later in the day.

“This is the time to identify and correct deficiencies,” said Marine 2nd Lt. Kevin Kelly, an observer controller at the exercise. “However, it is important to note that we [observers and controllers] are not here to just evaluate them, but to train and mentor them prior to upcoming deployment.”

The Georgians achieved their mission of locating the enemy post and gathering information on them; but in addition to that, they also gained valuable lessons from this experience that will make their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan a success.

“This experience is extremely rewarding for me as well as the other Marines participating,” said Kelly, who is a native of Potomac, Maryland and a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. “The Marines here bring a cumulative wealth of combat experience and are enthusiastic to share it with this very capable partner (Georgians). The mentorship they will receive is invaluable.”

The Georgian soldiers are in the final phase of the MRE. The MRE is the culminating event for the Republic of Georgia’s 23rd Light Infantry Battalion prior to deploying to Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations in support of the Georgia Deployment Program – International Security Assistance Force. The total training exercise runs from Feb. 1-24.

The original GDP-ISAF program was a two-year train and equip mission designed to prepare four Georgian infantry battalions in sequence for operations in Afghanistan with Regional Command Southwest - RC(SW). As of May 2011 the program is now GDP-ISAF II, a subsequent extension of the original program for training and deploying nine additional Georgian infantry battalions over three-years.

“Our intention is to give the Georgians soldiers the essential training and preparation to operate with Marines and the Afghan National Army in stabilizing the security environment in Afghanistan," said Brown, who is a native of the Silicon Valley in California. “This MRE has been designed to replicate the RC(SW) area of operations and provide a scenario that evaluates the 23rd Georgian Light Infantry Battalion’s ability to operate within a counter-insurgency (COIN) enviro