NIS, Serbia — High ranking Serbian government officials, hundreds of multi-national military troops and dozens of media members attended the opening ceremony of the 2009 military medical training exercise in Central and Eastern Europe, or MEDCEUR, Sept. 2, 2009 at Knjaz Mihailo Barracks here.
The ceremony included remarks from Dr. Zoran Vesic, a Serbian state secretary, U.S. Col. Tim Brown, 435th Expeditionary Contingency Response Group commander and MEDCEUR 2009 co-director, and Lt. Col. Goran Desancic, MEDCEUR 2009 co-director.
"Today, at the beginning of the seventh annual exercise MEDCEUR, I would like to point out that the decision of our country to host such an important military medical exercise as this one with so long a tradition, is the best evidence that the Republic of Serbia has opted for politics of universal security," Vesic said. "The support and dedication of the U.S.A. and partner countries given to us during the planning process also prove that we've all made the same choices."
More than 600 participants, including hundreds of Unites States Air Forces in Europe airmen, descended upon Nis to participate in the Sept. 2 - 13 exercise.
The exercise focuses on providing joint medical training and assisting host nation civilian and military services; international, private and volunteer organizations; and other participating nations in enhancing disaster response actions.
"Over the next two weeks, I look forward to working with our Serbian hosts and the 14 other countries participating in this Partnership for Peace exercise," Brown said. "We have been planning for over a year to ensure we offer the best possible training for all participants. I would like to thank our Serbian hosts for their hospitality."
The Partnership for Peace, or PfP, is a major NATO initiative aimed to enhance cooperation and stability in Central and Eastern European countries while increasing interoperability between the Partner Nations and NATO.
"Together, in the spirit of PfP, as one team, under the auspices of 15 countries and during the following two weeks, you will perform many tasks," the Secretary said. "Take advantage of this time to feel the joy of unity and cooperation; and use every opportunity to learn from one another. Only in that way will we accomplish the goal of the exercise and be ready to jointly respond to any challenges."
Prior to the ceremony, Brown represented the U.S. during the memorandum and technical arrangement signing, along with Serbian representatives, Vesic and Brig. Gen. Milan Mojsilovic, Serbian Air Force Joint Operations Command deputy commander.
"...Participants and fighters for humanity, I wish you a successful exercise and may you continue to spread the key word of our partnership - Humaneness," Vesic said.
Besides the host nation and U.S. forces, other countries participating in the exercise include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway and Poland.