Tirana, Albania -- On the occasion of September 11, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their Albanian counterparts will participate in a combined military graduation ceremony. The event will take place at the Kommando Military Base at Zallher, Albania at 1:00 p.m. local time (7:00 a.m. EST). Guest speakers will include U.S. Ambassador to Albania James Jeffrey and Albanian President Alfred Moisiu.
Albania, one of Europe's least economically developed countries and a majority Muslim nation, has been an enthusiastic partner in the Coalition of the Willing. It is one of less than a half-dozen coalition partners with combat troops currently serving in both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
An Albanian Kommando Unit conducting exchange training with SOF units operationally assigned to Special Operations Command Europe forces is slated to replace the Albanian forces currently serving side by side with the 101st Airborne in Northern Iraq. The event is known as a Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET). This instruction provides proficiency training in an environment enabling both nations to learn from each other.
Primarily, JCETs provide U.S. SOF with training and cultural immersion. Such interactive training ensures that both nations keep their own military skills current, and helps to develop linguistic and intercultural skills as well. U.S. and Albanian forces practice a wide variety of skills, including small arms training and air operations.