by Tech Sgt. Dean J. Miller
TBILISI, Georgia (Army News Service, May 28, 2002) - American Green Berets and soldiers from the Republic of Georgia stood side-by-side on Memorial Day weekend to begin the newest chapter in the War on Terrorism.
Military forces from this former Soviet-block country will receive training in joint military doctrine and tactical skills under a mission that formally began May 25. Opening ceremonies took place on the grounds of Georgia's military academy in the capital city of Tbilisi.
War on Terrorism begins new phase
As part of a multi-national honor guard,
Staff Sgt. John Martin,
10th Special Forces Group,
renders a salute while the
United States and Georgian
National Anthems are performed during the opening ceremonies of the Georgia Train and Equip Program.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
Known as the "Georgia Train and Equip Program," the mission is under the operational control of Special Operations Command Europe and officials said they expect it to last approximately two years. They said the goal is to enhance the capability of Georgia to respond to security threats and enable the Georgian government to improve security and stability at home and regionally.
The mission is being conducted out of Forward Operating Base 102 by soldiers of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Carson, Colo. The Green Berets are supported by other troops from U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Forces Europe.
"Through this unique partnership, together in the global war on terrorism, we hope to promote Georgian freedom and stability and to help you to fulfill your desire to live in an open, democratic society -- free of the threat of global terrorism," said U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles, during opening ceremonies. "In the months to follow, you the Georgian military, border guards and police will face challenging obstacles, yet I have every confidence you are up to the challenge.
"America willingly and proudly sends you her best military men and women to conduct this training," said Miles. "These fine officers and non-commissioned officers are some of the most well-trained and capable military instructors in the world. I urge you to use them and learn from them."
GTEP is a time-phased initiative, officials said. The first program of instruction, which lasts about 70 days, consists of staff training. The curriculum is modeled after modern American joint military doctrine. It is designed to build strong and effective staff organizations, officials said, capable of creating and sustaining standardized operating procedures, training plans, operational plans, and a property accounting system.
At the end of the staff training, tactical instruction follows. Five Georgian units, trained back-to-back for approximately 100 days each, will be involved in basic individual skills training such as radio operator procedures, first aid, land navigation, and human rights education. Individual combat skills are also on the agenda. The tactical training will culminate in platoon-level offensive and defensive procedures and basic airmobile tactics.
Under GTEP, military equipment will also be transferred to the Georgian Army, officials said. This includes uniforms, communications gear, training gear, medical gear, fuel, construction equipment, small arms, and ammunition.
"A program like Georgia Train and Equip is one way we honor the fallen and help others," said GTEP mission commander, Lt. Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, during opening ceremonies.
In his remarks, Lt. Gen. David Tevzadze, Georgian Minister of Defense, welcomed the U.S. soldiers and reflected on the significance of the date.
"Today, we celebrate the kick-start of this program," said Tevzadze. "This is not only a Georgian and American day, this is also a day for all of our partners that we're in [military] relationships with. Therefore, at the end of the day, we will all celebrate together. Starting today, we will share equal victory and equal defeats."
Following the opening ceremony, Waltemeyer conducted a course introduction for the Georgian students.
"We will train one of you; you will train ten -- and they will train ten more," said Waltemeyer. "You are the future of your armed force.
"We will apply the lessons we learn here in the lecture hall and the classroom to improve the interoperability of your force. Everything we do will prepare you for tactical training," said Waltemeyer. "There will be hard work and late nights. My men will be with you every step of the way. Get a good night's sleep, tomorrow will be a long day."
(Editor's note: Tech Sgt. Dean J. Miller is a member of the Georgia Train and Equip public affairs team.)
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