FORT POLK, La.--Parachutes opened, marching music blared, and more than 4,000members of three NATO and Central and Eastern Europe military services paradedacross Honor Field here today to open Exercise Cooperative Nugget 95, the firstNATO Partnership for Peace (PFP) exercise to be conducted in the UnitedStates.
The opening ceremony marked the beginning of Cooperative Nugget `95, anexercise which provides numerous opportunities for the multinational trainingforce to practice and develop their combined peacekeeping skills through August26 at the Joint Readiness Training Center.
Military personnel from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and thePFP countries marched onto Fort Polk's Honor Field.
The PFP nations includedAlbania, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrghystan, Latvia,Lithuania, Poland, Romania, The Slovak Republic, Slovenia, The Ukraine andUzbekistan.
The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army parachute team from Fort Bragg, N.C., beganthe festivities with a precision free fall demonstration involving 10parachutists.
As the U.S. Navy Band New Orleans performed their unique marchmusic, military units from 17 different nations passed in review before seniormilitary and civilian representatives from NATO and the United States.
Marine Corps Gen. John J. Sheehan, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic andcommander-in-chief of U.S. Atlantic Command, welcomed all participants.
"It isthrough exercises such as this that truly we can create a new world order inwhich the militaries of the world can work in coordination and cooperation tofill a better peace," Sheehan said.
Secretary of Defense William J. Perry began his comments by introducing all thecountries on the parade field and welcoming everyone attending.
"On thesegrounds, where 50 years ago our forces trained for war in Europe, we now trainour forces for new missions of peace.
These Louisiana maneuvers are atremendous opportunity to learn more about one another from one another, andhow to conduct military operations with one another.
I urge everyone to seizethis opportunity."
"Fifty years ago, in a report to the Congress, the Chief of Staff of the Army,(General) George Marshall, said, `if man does find the solution to world peaceit will be the most revolutionary reversal of his record we have ever known.'We might not find the solution on these fields to world peace; but, bydeveloping understanding, cooperation and trust, we can secure peace among ournations," Perry said.
Field Marshal Sir Richard Vincent, United Kingdom Army and chairman of the NATOMilitary Committee, was the next to speak.
"It gives me great pleasure to openExercise Cooperative Nugget which is the second of ten Partnership for Peaceexercises planned for this year, and importantly, the first-ever conducted inthe United States," Vincent said.
"The aim of Exercise Cooperative Nugget `95," the Field Marshal related, "ashas been jointly agreed by the nations taking part, is to fosterinteroperability between participating forces through the development of commontactics, operational techniques and communications procedures for a moreeffective conduct of combined peacekeeping and humanitarian reliefoperations."
"You don't need me to remind you that these are the kind of the practical andhighly relevant skills which service men and women for many of the nationsrepresented here on parade today are needing to develop for everyday use inenvironments from Cyprus to Haiti, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and sadly,many other places as well," Vincent continued.
Vincent encouraged those participating to share their experiences with fellowexercise participants, and to become more effective should they be callednationally or collectively to undertake similar tasks in the future.