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Release No: 488-96
August 14, 1996

Remarks Prepared For Delivery by Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White


Wednesday, August 14, 1996

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

On behalf of President Clinton and Secretary of Defense Perry, I want to welcome all of you to the United States, to Camp Lejeune and to Cooperative Osprey 96. The United States is proud to host this exercise, but we are even prouder to work alongside the troops of the Partnership for Peace nations and our NATO allies. Each one of our nations should be proud of making the Partnership for Peace a success, and for contributing to a new era in security for us all.

Earlier this summer, a group of dedicated and courageous individuals from all over the world came to the United States. They were the Olympic athletes. They came to the playing fields in Atlanta with the pride and hopes of their nations. They left Atlanta with gold, silver and bronze medals. They also left with the world's esteem and the pride that comes from giving their personal best. But as we all know, the Olympic athletes accomplished something even greater. They brought the world closer together. They enhanced international peace and cooperation. And they made lifelong friends.

Today, we have another group of dedicated and courageous visitors in America. On these training fields, we have troops and observers from 23 nations from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond. From Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia -- the Baltic countries. From Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine in Eastern Europe. From the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic in Central Europe. From Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania in South Central Europe. From Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. From Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands in Western Europe. And from Canada and the United States in North America.

Like the Olympic athletes, you came to this field of peace with the pride and hopes of your nations. You too are bringing the world together, enhancing international peace and cooperation. We hope that you, too, depart as friends. And just as the Olympic athletes trained to meet world-class standards in athletics, you are training here today to meet world-class standards in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. These are the kinds of military operations we can expect to face in the foreseeable future; that we can carry out together; and that, indeed, we are carrying out at this very moment in Bosnia.

Cooperative Osprey will advance our capabilities to conduct multilateral peace operations. It will improve the ability of NATO and Partner forces to work together, to be interoperable, to better understand one another. We are sharing our skills and strengths, and our attitudes and attributes. Most of all, we are forging closer security relations and building a new zone of stability in the world.

This is an exciting day for all of us. Ever since the Cooperative Nugget exercises at Ft. Polk, Louisiana last summer, the United States has been looking forward to the opportunity to host another major Partnership for Peace exercise on our soil. We should be proud that Cooperative Nugget was a resounding success. But military forces never rest on their successes.

In Olympic pole-vaulting, when you make a successful pole vault, they raise the bar. That is what we are doing here at Cooperative Osprey. We are raising the bar. We are making these PFP exercises more sophisticated and more challenging than those that preceded it. You are going to practice moving from a maritime to a land operation. We will put you on ships and helicopters and support you with Harrier jump jets. You will cruise from ship to shore on air-cushioned landing craft. You will rescue a downed pilot and actually set up a complex peace- keeping operation. In the process you'll become knowledgeable in NATO training, tactics and procedures -- from planning to execution.

You're in the right place to get that training. Since 1941, Camp Lejeune has been one of the premier training bases in the U.S. military. It has a reputation for tough, realistic training. And Camp Lejeune is prepared to serve up a full helping of that tough, realistic training during Cooperative Osprey.

This training camp was established to help prepare U.S. forces to fight in the Second World War. The training of our forces for the war was led on the national level by the American General George C. Marshall. Today at Camp Lejeune, we are helping to fulfill another legacy of George Marshall. As author of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war, Marshall envisioned a region united in peace, freedom and democracy from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond. As the 21st Century approaches, our nations have a golden opportunity to make the Marshall vision a reality for Europe and beyond. Here at Camp Lejeune -- together -- our militaries are helping our nations to make that vision a reality.

In the United States, our Olympic athletes have a saying that probably translates the same way in almost any language. That saying is, Go for the Gold. For the next two weeks, I urge you to Go for the Gold here at Cooperative Osprey. Your prize ultimately will be more valuable than even an Olympic gold medal. Your prize will be that you made a personal contribution to a bright new future for East-West relations, and to nations united in peace, freedom and democracy. Your prize will be the privilege of telling your children and your grandchildren that you made their world a safer place.

Welcome to America. Thank you for your commitment to this endeavor. And I wish you a successful Partnership for Peace exercise.

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