Today, at the Jane Sandanski Barracks in Shtip, a ceremony was held for sending 140 Army personnel to one of the largest military exercises this year, “Saber Junction 19″, organized by the United States Army Europe (USAREUR), which will be realized in Germany. The ceremony was attended and addressed by Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska, the Deputy Chief of General Staff, Major General Azim Nuredin and Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States Jennifer R. Littlejohn.
“140 of our soldiers, those of you standing in front of me, will go to Germany as part of the Saber Junction exercise, together with the armed forces of the US and more than 20 allies and partners. The fact that within this exercise you are participating with military equipment and armoured personnel carriers, that within the exercise we have from our Army the only unit equipped with armoured personnel carriers, that the ranger platoon is also part of our contingent, which will be used for reconnaissance at long distances; all this means that we are raising, not only the number, but also the quality, the level of our participation in such large exercises organized by our strategic partner. This also means that the Allies have recognized this; they see your quality and your abilities and count on you. You should be proud of your professionalism and knowledge and the next time any of you or all of you will take part in an exercise under the auspices and organization of the United States or the NATO Alliance, you will be equal to all. You will be part of the Army of the country that is a member of the NATO Alliance. It happened because of your efforts, your work and the great and important steps our country has undertaken”, stressed Minister Shekerinska
Shekerinska said that today, at the threshold of our accession in today’s most powerful military – political alliance, the NATO – Alliance, it is very often talked about what it represents for us and our homeland.
“The benefits are significant and very broad. Our state is consolidating its position, becoming a voice heard in the company of equals, but it is also a voice in the company of the most powerful, the strongest. We are creating conditions for the peace and freedom we live in today to be a reality for the generations that come after us, for our children and our grandchildren. We enable anyone who wants to invest in us, a domestic or foreign investor, to be sure that we are here to stay, that the future of our country is guaranteed”, Shekerinska said.
In his address to Army members, the Deputy Chief of General Staff, Major General Azim Nuredi, emphasized that this exercise – Saber Junction 19, provides an opportunity to exchange gained knowledge and experience, as well as developing opportunities for interoperability and exercising with Army members from the other countries participating in the exercise, in accordance with NATO standards.
US Deputy Chief of Mission, Jennifer R. Littlejohn, also addressed the ceremony, where she expressed gratitude for the professionalism that the members of the Army demonstrated in nearly two decades of cooperation with US forces.
“We’ve worked together side-by-side in environments under great challenges, but you’ve always proven to be reliable and consistent partners”, Littlejohn said.
The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the interoperability and cooperation of the 173rd Airborne Brigade with more than 20 NATO Allies and Partner countries in conducting joint ground operations, as well as building mutual trust for joint participation in current and future international joint operations.