U.S. Officers Graduate from Peace Keeping Operations Center

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Army Capt. David Swisher and Army Capt. Todd Keyser of the Ohio National Guard successfully completed the Balkan Staff Officer’s Course May 27 in Belgrade.

BALSOC is a three-week multi-national course designed to prepare nationally trained staff officers, captains and majors, from North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Partnership for Peace countries for assignments in multinational headquarters conducting Peace Support Operations.

For the U.S. participants, attending the BALSOC provided a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience working collaboratively within a multi-national staff and to familiarize them with NATO doctrine and methodology. Sending U.S. students to attend this course in Serbia is just the latest cooperative activity to be realized through the State Partnership Program relationship which has existed between Serbia and Ohio since 2006.

The course was hosted by the Serbian Armed Forces Joint Forces Command’s Peace Keeping Operations Center and conducted in cooperation with the Nordic Coordination Arrangement for Peace Support Operations. The PKOC is located on Banjica Barracks installation, also home to the SAF General Staff Headquarters.

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Georgia — Troops from Georgia, the United States, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine stood together, here, for the last time on July 30, at the closing ceremony of this year's Immediate Response exercise.  During the exercise troops conducted hundreds of live-fire and situational training exercises; combat lifesaver classes; and Improvised Explosive Device training.  Immediate Response is an annual bilateral security cooperation exercise conducted between the U.S. and NATO and coalition partners.  The purpose of this year's exercise was to increase the cooperation and partnership between U.S. and Georgian forces while preparing the Georgian Military for operations in Iraq. (Department of Defense photo by Army Capt. Bryan Woods)

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