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Marines, Georgian Army launch exercise Agile Spirit

By Lance Cpl. Michael Dye | | March 27, 2013

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Marines and sailors assigned to Black Sea Rotational Force 13 marked the beginning of Exercise Agile Spirit 13, a three-week long bilateral exercise, by participating in the opening ceremony at Vaziani Airfield, Republic of Georgia, March 18.

The Republic of Georgia Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion will be working with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force BSRF-13 during Agile Spirit to enhance interoperability, promote regional stability and build camaraderie amongst the military forces.

The two battalion-sized units stood on the parade deck side-by-side in frigid wind and snow flurries while U.S. Army Col. Jeff Hartman, defense attaché to the Republic of Georgia and Col. Lasha Beridze, deputy chief of staff for the Republic of Georgia’s Joint Chiefs, addressed the forces from both nations. Both of their speeches welcomed the service members to the training and spoke about the significance of bilateral training.

“This training is a good example of the enduring relationship between the Georgia armed forces and the United States Marine Corps,” said Beridze.

Hartman welcomed the Marines and sailors to Georgia and emphasized how this exercise strengthens the relationship between Georgia and the Marine Corps.

“I can think of no greater way to start your six-month deployment than here in Georgia with one of our best partners, the 23rd Infantry Battalion.”

The 23rd Infantry Battalion returned from Afghanistan November 2012. The battalion has deployed twice in support of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

After the ceremony, both units bivuoaced at a forward-operating base within the training area to begin an 11-day field exercise. The U.S. and Georgia militaries will share their tactics and techniques for small-arms marksmanship and employment, cordon and search procedures, combat life saver training, engineering tactical decision making, convoy operations and counter-IED tactics.

Following exercise Agile Spirit, the Marines and sailors of BSRF-13will re-deploy to Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania.

Black Sea Rotational Force is a crisis response force of more than 250 Marines conducting a 6-month theater security cooperation deployment with 21 partner nations. The self-contained Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force provides EUCOM the ability to quickly respond to a regional crisis within the unit’s capabilities while building military capacity, providing regional stability, and developing lasting partnerships.
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