Sgt. Andrew Reagan
304th Public Affairs Detachment
MALANG, Indonesia — Soldiers from the U.S. and Tentara National Indonesia Army kicked off Garuda Shield 2012 with an opening ceremony at the headquarters of the TNI’s 2nd Infantry Division Kostrad, here, June 11.
In its sixth year, this combined exercise improves peacekeeping and stability operations, and increases the disaster relief capabilities of both armies.
The Army Reserve’s 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, headquartered in Honolulu, oversees the exercise.
“Garuda Shield has several overarching goals, including strengthening (international) relations and enhancing familiarity in military procedures,” said Kristen Bauer, consulate general, Surabaya, Indonesia.
“This is a comprehensive partnership that will build strong ties between our peoples in many areas, especially in defense,” Bauer said. “In this way, Garuda Shield not only enhances (the) Soldiers’ expertise and technical efficiencies, but also improves our ability to cooperate in multilateral environments.”
The U.S. participants are a mix of active component, reserve and National Guard Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army- Pacific Command, as well as a group of 22 ROTC cadets from universities throughout the U.S. They will train alongside more than 400 Soldiers from the TNI’s 2nd Inf. Div.
U.S. and TNI soldiers work side-by-side on multiple projects. The Soldiers will build a community center and renovate a family welfare center in Malang, conduct a field training exercise to learn how to combat improvised explosive devices, and participate in a mock peacekeeping and humanitarian command post exercise.
“This exercise is an important, interactive training experience for the Soldiers of the U.S. Army and the (TNI), and not just for military topics, as it connects us again as close partners in the Pacific region,” said Brig. Gen. Gary Hara, commander, Land Component Command, Hawaii Army National Guard.
“I challenge all of you to participate fully in this training exercise, so that Garuda Shield 2012 is not only a successful exercise, but also a pure learning experience for everyone,” Hara said. “Look forward with this challenge at heart, and exercise the right to listen to and appreciate one another as you work together as one team.”
“We are very happy to train together and to share our experiences and tactics during this exercise,” said Lt. Col. Agus-Subiyauto, vice chief of staff operations, 2nd Inf. Div., TNI.
“What we do in this exercise will strengthen the U.S.-Indonesian partnership, build key leaders and enhance our abilities to respond in a crisis together,” Bauer said. “I hope you all take this opportunity to get to know each other and learn from each other. Truly the personal bonds that are formed in this exercise are the most important to take away. They will last decades and they will serve you, and they will serve our countries.”