From August 21st until September 1st, 2023, troops from 21 allied and partner nations joined forces with the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct one of the most extensive airborne exercises of the year.
The exercise's objectives became even more relevant in light of Russia's aggression on Ukraine, focusing on security cooperation and interoperability among NATO and ally forces.
Exercise Agile Spirit is a multinational annual exercise directed by the U.S. European Command and co-organized and co-hosted by the Armies of Georgia, Turkey, and the U.S. Army in Europe and Africa.
In addition to the traditional allies and partners, Agile Spirit 2023 also saw participation from the Georgia National Guard, which is partnered with the Georgian Armed Forces.
Joint Forcible Entry: Black Sea and the Caucasus
The importance of the Black Sea and the Caucasus region is also critical to the security of Europe and the U.S. interests. This is even more important in light of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
The Black Sea has significant importance to global trade and logistics. The general idea behind the exercise is to improve multinational and joint readiness capabilities, especially rapid mobility.
NATO's Multinational Division Southeast served as a brigade-level command post focusing training on Joint Forcible Entry at a battalion level in Turkey. Additionally, combined medical and protection training, combined special operations, combined battalion live fire training, and various other levels and types of exercises were spread throughout Georgia.
These simultaneous and live-fire exercises aim to increase the interoperability and readiness of U.S. and partner nations. The exercise was conducted in Turkey's Kayseri Airbase Martyr Hasan BAK drop zone and Georgia's following training areas: Vaziani, Krtsanisi, Norio, and Senaki.
Train as you fight: Paratroopers mean business.
Col. Joseph Bilbo, Defense Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, said, "The complexity that we've added this year was conducting an airborne drop that combines the forces of the United States Army and United States Marine Corps.
For the partners involved in this jump, it creates an opportunity to support the fight together and get to know one another and establish important bonds."
The fact that airborne exercises are the most realistic military training came to light because paratroopers were conducting actual jumps. U.S. Marines, Soldiers, and international partners conducted the jump together, showing unity and interoperability. The jump was also a unique opportunity for troops to share experiences, patches, and cigarettes.
Corporal Cole Giampaola, from the Marines, with a typical jarhead grin, stated that this was "a great learning experience, figuring out how the Army does things and comparing it to the procedures we have learned in the Marines. It was nice to have the Army teach us something for a change."
The Bigger Picture: Deterrence and Combat-Ready Troops
But of course, the general idea behind Agile Spirit is much more than tactical ability and operational readiness.
The strategic goal is to deter the enemy forces (yes, we mean Russia) and have combat-ready multinational troops for any scenario.
The last few decades have shown that these wars are never fought alone, and America is always stronger when it has its allies on the left and right limits. For those who dare to test it?! Bring it on!
Want to see more? Check out this video which summarizes exercise Agile Spirit 2023. Consider it a thank you note for bearing with us!