Ambassador to Georgia welcomes task force, urges cultural awareness

KRTSANISI, Georgia — The Honorable Richard Miles, U.S. ambassador to Georgia, spoke of the importance of the Georgian Sustainment and Stability Operations Program April 29 at the Krtsanisi National Training Center here. He addressed members of the task force, comprised of Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers, emphasizing the impact the program has on the country of Georgia and the morale of the Georgian military. (DoD Photo by Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Dwaine Roberts)

KRTSANISI, Georgia — The Honorable Richard Miles, U.S. ambassador to Georgia, visited with task force Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program members April 29, encouraging them to train Georgian soldiers to high standards and to also treat them with dignity and respect.

"With your help, the Georgian military will be better prepared for their scheduled deployment to Iraq," said Miles who is a former U.S. Marine. "The Georgian people are very proud of their military's contribution."

Miles, a 35-year State Department veteran, added that the new troops being trained are very motivated, very capable and more determined ... and the higher their morale when going into Iraq, the better off they are going to be to accomplish the mission and avoid casualties. The ambassador mentioned that there have been no Georgian causalities to date, adding that the training will help prepare the Georgian military to meet the challenges they will face in Iraq.

Specifically, after completing training, the 23rd Infantry Battalion and other Georgian units will deploy to Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism and Iraqi stability. Georgia is very supportive of the U.S. anti-terrorism efforts and seeks to become familiar with and participate in other UN peacekeeping and stability operations, Miles said.

"The Georgians are a very proud people, and you have to be culturally sensitive and aware of that," said Miles. "They are very willing and anxious to learn, and the previous Marines (the Georgian Train and Equip Program which ended last year) understood the culture and did very well in that regard. I think that's the most important thing. If I were you guys doing the training, I would keep that (the Georgian cultural pride) in mind."

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