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Camp Lejeune Hosts Partnership Exercise

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 1996 – About 1,200 troops from 16 Partnership for Peace countries and three NATO nations will soon experience summer camp a la the U.S. Marine Corps.

For three weeks in August, international troops from such northern countries as Lithuania and Moldova will train in Camp Lejeune's 90-degree heat "with 95 percent humidity and an extra supply of bugs," according to Marine Corps Gen. John J. Sheehan, commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Command.

Aug. 12 to 30, the North Carolina base will host Cooperative Osprey 1996, the largest Partnership for Peace exercise held in the United States, Sheehan announced during a Pentagon briefing July 30. About 300 U.S. troops and 900 troops from 16 Partnership for Peace countries and NATO members Canada and the Netherlands, and three observer nations will participate in the combined peacekeeping exercise.

"What we're going to do is expose the Partnership for Peace nations to a level of sophistication that we have not exposed them to in the past," Sheehan said. "We're going to put them aboard ships, let them fly helicopters onto the beach, use [air-cushion landing craft], use Harriers, the type of equipment they would expect to see in peacekeeping operations."

Since Partnership for Peace membership is a forerunner to possible NATO membership, training is based on NATO standards, Sheehan said. Units will conduct amphibious and maritime operations, secure an urban environment and perform a search and rescue operation to save a downed airman and recover a lost aircraft.

DoD will provide communications gear to countries that need compatible equipment, Sheehan said. Countries that become part of NATO will need compatible gear, he said, because that interoperability is key to successful joint operations.

Each nation will send a platoon of 40 to 50 people and two or three high-ranking observers, Sheehan said. The observers will learn staff procedures at the Joint Training Analysis Simulation Center in Suffolk, Va., prior to participating in a final field exercise. As part of the upgrade in partnership training, Sheehan said, the observers will actually function as operations and logistics officers to increase their experience level.

"During the last year and a half or so, the quality of the training and of the people sent to Partnership for Peace exercises is improving," Sheehan said. "So what we're trying to do is keep raising the standards to improve the training quality so that they're absolutely interoperable."

The partner nations' defense chiefs will get written evaluations of their units' tactical and operational performance, Sheehan said. "These are not report cards in the pass/fail kind of approach," he said, "but rather [a report on] the things the nation needs to improve in order to reach interoperable standards."

DoD will provide transportation and lodging for the foreign units. In addition to visiting the beaches and training ranges of Camp Lejeune, the foreign forces will also tour Washington and other attractions, Sheehan said.

Partner countries participating are Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Observers will come from Denmark and the partnership's Azerbaijan and Czech Republic.

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