[ETAN-key] USArmy: U.S., Indonesia Garuda Shield 2010 opens
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Wed Jun 16 16:36:03 EDT 2010
U.S., Indonesia maintain a partnership of peace
Jun 14, 2010
1st Class Frank L. Marquez
BANDUNG, Indonesia -- Continuing an era of cooperation, the
Indonesian military hosted the opening ceremony of Garuda Shield 2010
on Thursday at the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) Infantry Training
Center in the District of Cipatat.
Maj. Gen. Soenarko, commander of the infantry center, and Maj. Gen.
Robert G.F. Lee, the adjutant general of Hawaii Army National Guard
(HIARNG), greeted more than 1,100 military members at the hour-long
ceremony. Representatives from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brunei,
Thailand, Nepal, Philippines and the United States stood in a mass
formation while listening to welcoming remarks delivered by both
Soenarko and Lee.
Garuda Shield began four years ago in Bogor with the goal of training
various nations' militaries for United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The objectives have not changed over the years with the exception of
the Indonesians taking the lead on training. Their U.S. counterparts
now give limited guidance.
"Each country has its own standard, which explains the reason for
having a U.N. certification," Soenarko said. "The idea is to have one
Indonesia is preparing to send an engineering company to Lebanon
later this year. The Indonesians have been sending troops to Lebanon
for year-long rotations since December 2006, according to Maj.
Charles Carter, exercise coordinator. The Indonesians have also
deployed engineers to the Congo.
"The objectives of this exercise show Indonesia's contribution for
worldwide peace, and the solidarity between participating countries,"
Lee said. "The benefit of having exercises like Garuda Shield is the
knowledge that we can work together when natural or other disasters strike."
As part of the exercise, staff officers from the Pacific Command, the
HIARNG, USARPAC, and the TNI will form a brigade to test peace
support and stability operations capabilities.
Other troops are in the middle of conducting a field training
exercise to exchange UN standardized organizational tactics,
techniques and procedures to improve tactical interoperability.
Meanwhile, engineers are working in Indonesia's rural communities to
provide humanitarian civic actions (HCA). Every day scores of
children mil about the construction sites to watch the progress.
Engineer partners are making quick work of a baby clinic, community
center and amphitheatre.
"As the executive of the mission, without forgetting the peacekeeping
and field training aspect, I strongly emphasize the lasting
impression those kids will have of the U.S.," said Exercise Commander
Col. Tony Diaz. "That's priceless. It's beneficial when those
communities see our soldiers working next to their soldiers."
The HCA work sites represent how the U.S. and Indonesian
military-to-military ties have improved greatly in the last five
years, and hold the promise of continued improvement in the years to
come, according to organizers. There remain some minor challenges.
Lee described one of those hurdles as having the appropriate mindset.
"First, countries are asked to defend their own nations," he said.
"But they are also asked to be diplomats. Therefore, we must involve
many more nations in our efforts which would be a key to
circumventing world conflicts."
Sgt. Rick Domec of the HIARNG met that challenge as he arrived in
Indonesia. He discovered that U.N. standards apply different rules of
engagement. He and Soldiers from C Troop, 299 Cav (Recon Surveillance
Target Acquisition), have been observing the various tactics at the
field training exercise adjacent to the TNI Training Center.
"We just returned from a deployment in Kuwait last August and
September. We were running convoy operations through Iraq to as far
as Mosul," he said. "There, we had to constantly be alert. But with
the U.N., we don't have to look at everyone as a threat. We look at
them as friends, and we are asked to identify ourselves as U.N. peacekeepers."
As Indonesia grows more confident in its training role, it is
believed that the same will happen with other nations. "In three
years, I've seen the Indonesian military progress. This is their
exercise now," Diaz said. "We came here to provide support and
guidance, but they run it. They plan it. They execute it. They are on
a par with any national military that I've been associated with in my 29 years.
Diaz added that "hopefully with U.N. training, other nations will
accept a larger role as their forces become more professional with
access to training like Garuda Shield 2010, and they develop military
doctrine modeled after our education system - the Command and Staff
College, and Army War College. Those countries can then become our
(Spc. Emerson Marcus, 106th Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to
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John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
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