Cooperative Neighbor was the first Partnership for Peace training exercise, held on the soil of the Former Soviet Union, to be fully integrated into the NATO planning process. The landmark event was organized and hosted by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry in cooperation with the military forces of the Hellenic Republic of Greece --its NATO partner-nation for the exercise. Under the PFP exercise Cooperative Neighbor, in July 1997 Ukraine hosted troops and representatives from the U.S., NATO allies (Greece, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands), Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, for an exercise with troops from the Czech Republic, Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia. Some 1,200 servicemen from Ukraine, the U.S., Greece, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Georgia participated. Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, and the Netherlands sent observers.
Soldiers from a platoon of the 3rd Battalion, 160th Infantry (Mechanized), a unit of the 40th Infantry Division (Mechanized), of the California Army National Guard, participated in the NATO Partnership for Peace training exercise Cooperative Neighbor. The California National Guard is part of the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program, which matches U.S. states with former East bloc countries. This provides the emerging democracies the opportunity to see how reserve forces are integrated into our national defense structure. The U.S. contingent, which included soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division, headquartered in Wuerzburg, Germany, and elements of the 86th Airlift Wing from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as well as the California Army National Guard, joined military forces from 12 other NATO or Partnership for Peace member nations to participate in the two-week exercise.
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