U.S., Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine conduct exercise in Georgia

STUTTGART, Germany — In the spirit of the NATO Partnership for Peace program, soldiers from the United States, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine will conduct the joint training exercise IMMEDIATE RESPONSE 2008 at Vaziani Military Base in Georgia beginning July 5, 2008.

Georgia has provided consistent support to coalition Global War on Terrorism and Regional War on Terrorism operations and is currently the third largest force contributor to OIF, behind the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Georgia's geographic location also allows other allies and partners in the region to see the benefits of working with the United States.

Future iterations of Immediate Response are planned for Georgia. Planning for IR08 began in 2006 and is designed to build on lessons learned from previous combined training and operations by giving commanders and their staffs a practical exercise in organizing, controlling, and supporting coalition stability and security operations.

Immediate Response is an annual, bilateral security cooperation exercise conducted between U.S. and NATO and coalition partners. It is a longstanding Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercise focused on interoperability training and theater security cooperation, and is designed to promote understanding and cooperation between military forces of the United States and our allies.

Approximately 1,000 Soldiers from USAREUR's Southern European Task Force (Airborne) and 21st Theater Sustainment Command, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps' 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines and the state of Georgia's Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry, will train alongside an equal number of soldiers of the Georgian Army, and soldiers from Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine. Equipment to be used for the exercise include basic field gear, tents, power generators, logistical vehicles and two HH-60 Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopters.

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