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USARPAC adds exercises with Pacific nations

Dec. 12, 2012 - 07:17AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 - 07:17AM  |  
Col. Thomas Kunk, director of operational maneuver directorate, U.S. Army Pacific Contingency Command Post, and Lt. Col. Jason Dyhrberg, New Zealand Defence Force, discuss communications capabilities of a deployable unit at Taliai Military Camp, Kingdom of Tonga on Sept. 23.
Col. Thomas Kunk, director of operational maneuver directorate, U.S. Army Pacific Contingency Command Post, and Lt. Col. Jason Dyhrberg, New Zealand Defence Force, discuss communications capabilities of a deployable unit at Taliai Military Camp, Kingdom of Tonga on Sept. 23. (Army)
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The Army is adding four new exercises two with New Zealand and two with Australia and growing its existing events with its partners in the Pacific, officials said.

Here's a look at what's coming up:

New Zealand

The new exercises with New Zealand mark the first time in about 20 years that the Army has been able to train with the Kiwis, said Col. Matthew Kelley, the exercise division chief in the U.S. Army Pacific G-3 (operations).

Alam Halfa and Koru Kiwi are major readiness exercises for the New Zealand army, and it has asked the Americans to participate, Kelley said.

The 25th Infantry Division has been tapped for both exercises, which are command post and field training events, Kelley said.

About 55 U.S. soldiers are expected to participate in Alam Halfa, and about 110 will participate in Koru Kiwi.

"The Kiwis are exercising a battalion- to brigade-sized headquarters, and we'll send augmentees for that," he said. "And we'll send a company of infantry to the field for marksmanship, maneuver training, and to share [tactics, techniques and procedures]."

The first Alam Halfa with U.S. participation took place in May, Kelley said.

Koru Kiwi kicked off in November, and the 25th Infantry Division sent about 100 soldiers.

Kelley said there is potential for more training events with New Zealand and other armies in the region.


USARPAC also added two exercises with longtime ally Australia.

Pozieres Prospect, which takes place every March, is a division- to corps-level exercise to train and certify the readiness of Australian forces.

The U.S. will send contingency command post and staff augmentees to work with the Aussies, Kelley said, and there are plans to eventually add a field training component to the event.

This year, the USARPAC contingency command post is the lead for Pozieres. I Corps and the 25th Infantry Division will take on larger roles in future Pozieres events.

The other exercise, Hamel, happens every July. It is similar to Pozieres Prospect, and in 2013, Hamel will be part of Talisman Sabre, the largest exercise the U.S. conducts with Australia.

In 2014, Hamel will be a stand-alone exercise again, and plans call for I Corps and the 25th Infantry Division to participate in future iterations.

Other major exercises planned include:

Ulchi Freedom Guardian, South Korea

Led by U.S. Forces Korea, this is a combined exercise with the South Korean military. About 1,500 I Corps and 25th Infantry Division soldiers will be involved in the exercise in August. Ulchi Freedom Guardian also will serve as a culminating exercise to certify the 25th Infantry Division headquarters is trained and ready for its regionally aligned forces mission.

Foal Eagle, South Korea

Scheduled for March, Foal Eagle is the field training component of the Key Resolve exercise. USARPAC is sending a Stryker battalion from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, to participate. About 1,200 U.S. soldiers are expected to take part.

Orient Shield, Japan

This exercise kicked off in October, and 2nd SBCT, 25th Infantry Division, sent 33 Strykers and about 750 soldiers to participate. They are training with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.

Yama Sakura, Japan

This is USARPAC's largest exercise with Japan. The command headquarters and 8th Army will participate early next year. About 800 soldiers will participate.

Cobra Gold, Thailand

During this year's exercise, scheduled for February, the USARPAC contingency command post will participate, along with U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea. These soldiers will bring with them Korean soldiers, who will participate in the exercises for the first time. In all, about 650 U.S. soldiers are slated to participate.

Balikatan, Philippines

This annual exercise takes place in April. This upcoming iteration will include soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division, and they will conduct a command post exercise with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. About 2,850 U.S. soldiers will participate.

Yudh Abhyas with India

In 2013, Indian troops will travel to Fort Bragg, N.C., to train with about 270 soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division. This brigade-level command post exercise plus battalion field training exercise will have an Indian battalion and a U.S. airborne battalion working together in a peacekeeping scenario. The exercise takes place in India during the even years and in the U.S. during the odd years.

Gema Bhakti, Indonesia

This is a new joint staff exercise scheduled for June. It will mark the first time USARPAC has conducted this with the Indonesian Joint Forces. The USARPAC contingency command post, about 25 soldiers, will participate in the first year. Plans call for the 25th Infantry Division to participate in future years.

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