Exercise Keris Strike 2013 proves successful, again

| October 4, 2013 | 0 Comments
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota (left), senior enlisted leader, USARPAC, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Kidd (right), trainer at the Asia-Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, observe Malaysian soldiers as they go through one of the STX lanes as part of C-IED training during Keris Strike 13, Sept. 26. (Photos by Staff Sgt. William Sallette, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota (left), senior enlisted leader, USARPAC, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Kidd (right), trainer at the Asia-Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, observe Malaysian soldiers as they go through one of the STX lanes as part of C-IED training during Keris Strike 13, Sept. 26. (Photos by Staff Sgt. William Sallette, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Master Sgt. Rodney Jackson
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

LAPANGAN TERBANG CAMP, Malaysia — Keris Strike, an annual, bilateral U.S. Army-Pacific exercise between the U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), and a very important event for the Asia-Pacific region within the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, came to an end, here, Sept. 27.

This exercise was the 17th iteration of the U.S. and Malaysian joint exercise, which contributes to a regional peacekeeping capability in Asia, and in turn helps both groups grow closer each year.

During the final ceremony of the exercise, Maj. Gen. Gary Hara, deputy commander, Army National Guard, USARPAC, spoke on behalf of Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, USARPAC.

In his speech, Hara thanked the 2nd Division of the MAF for setting the bar high for this event, and for its hospitality, professionalism and friendship.

Maj. Gen. Gary Hara (second from left), deputy commander, Hawaii Army National Guard, USARPAC; Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota (second from right), senior enlisted leader, USARPAC; and Staff Sgt. Christopher Kidd (right), trainer at the Asia-Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, speak with Maj. MD Lani Suraihan (left), chief of instruction at the MAF Engineer School, during a visit to the C-IED training lanes, Sept. 26.

Maj. Gen. Gary Hara (second from left), deputy commander, Hawaii Army National Guard, USARPAC; Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota (second from right), senior enlisted leader, USARPAC; and Staff Sgt. Christopher Kidd (right), trainer at the Asia-Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, speak with Maj. MD Lani Suraihan (left), chief of instruction at the MAF Engineer School, during a visit to the C-IED training lanes, Sept. 26.

“Your combined efforts over the last two weeks, and really, over the last 17 years, underscore that,” Hara said. “Keris Strike makes a vital contribution every year to building capacity for the spirit of partnership. I remain confident in the trust and professional expertise shared between our countries.”

The two-week exercise focused on three major components: Medical First Responder (MFR) training, counter-improvised explosive device training and a Command Post Exercise (CPX).

Thirty paramedics and seven doctors participated in the MFR training, and 120 MAF Soldiers took part in the counter-IED training, which culminated with a challenging lanes test that tested participants’ newly learned and polished pre-exercise skills.

“In addition to the regularly scheduled training, the MAF medical team identified training on advanced medical skills that are not normally taught, but learned from experience,” said Capt. Yolanda Benson, commander, Company C, 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

“The MAF has established our own mobile training team in order to train our soldiers to prepare them before they go on a mission,” added Maj. Lani Suraihan, chief of instruction, MAF Engineering School, 8th Squadron, Royal Engineer Regiment, 3rd Div.

“Our military is still involved in peacekeeping operations, so we will have the capability to train our own soldiers,” Suraihan said. “However, we still need partner nation training programs.”

A brigade- and battalion-level staff exercise, the CPX was equally challenging, as participants focused on peace support operations and training based on UN training standards, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“The exercise mission gives us the opportunity to look at problems that aren’t in high-combat operations,” said Col. Thomas Mackey, commander, 2nd SBCT. “It gives us realistic concepts that we may face, like natural occurring events.”

Mackey added that this exercise is the perfect opportunity to learn from Malaysians who have more experience in humanitarian disaster response.

“The exercise has gone extremely well, and not just based on performance in terms of combined staff,” Mackey said. “The MAF and U.S. are truly working as partners and with teamwork. I’m mostly proud of the teamwork between the two Armies.”

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Category: Exercises, News, Training

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