|Garuda Shield 12||HOMEPAGE|
Garuda Shield 2012 begins with combined opening ceremony|
By Sgt. Andrew A. Reagan, 304th Public Affairs Detachment
In its sixth year, this combined exercise improves peacekeeping, stability operations and increases the disaster relief capabilities of both armies.
"Garuda Shield has several overarching goals, including strengthening (international) relations and enhancing familiarity in military procedures," said Kristen Bauer, the consulate general in 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 American participants are a mix of Active Component, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers serving under U.S. Army, Pacific / Pacific Command, as well as a group of 22 ROTC Cadets from universities throughout the states. They will train alongside more than 400 Soldiers from the TNI’s 2nd Inf. Div. The exercise is overseen by the Army Reserve’s 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, headquartered in Honolulu.
The TNI and U.S. Soldiers are working side by side on multiple projects, including an engineering project to build a community center and renovate a family welfare center in Malang, a field training exercise on combating improvised explosive devices, and a mock peacekeeping and humanitarian command post exercise.
"This exercise is an important interactive training experience for the Soldiers of the United States 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 for the Land Component Command of the 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," said Hara. "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."
Anticipation for the exercise was also high on the Indonesian side, as Lt. Gen. M. Munir, commander of the TNI’s Army Strategy Command, urged his soldiers to take the exercise seriously by maintaining discipline and learning everything they can from their U.S. partners.
"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 for the 2nd Inf. Div.
While the exercise will improve the capabilities of both militaries, Bauer said the human bonds formed during the exercise are what will be the most lasting.
"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," said Bauer. "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."