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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 444-97
August 28, 1997

EXERCISE CENTRAL ASIAN BATTALION '97

The longest distance airborne operation in history will take place this September over Kazakhstan when U.S. forces will train with troops from central Asia and other countries, including Russia and Turkey, during Exercise Central Asian Battalion (CENTRAZBAT) '97. During this exercise, more than 900 military personnel from six countries will combine with more than 500 U.S. military troops to hone their skills in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. The exercise will be held in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, and Chirchik, Uzbekistan during September 15-21, 1997.

This exercise will be conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace by the Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM), and will be hosted by the countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The staff of USACOM has been working closely with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and the defense ministers of all participating countries to coordinate the exercise.

The purpose of the exercise is to enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability training among NATO and Partnership for Peace nations through the practice of combined peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations. The exercise will center on a role-playing scenario where the combined forces will monitor an imaginary border dispute between two fictitious nations. Training will involve forces from Asian countries traveling to the United States for refresher parachute training with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. Upon completion of the training, the combined forces will fly non-stop to Kazakhstan where they will conduct a parachute drop of troops and equipment.

For more information on CENTRAZBAT '97, contact USACOM Public Affairs at (757) 322-6558/6555.

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