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GTEP Final Phase Begins

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 1/17/2004

Story by 1st Lt. Kate S. VandenBossche

, Georgia(January 19, 2004) -- In the span of 100 days, more than 200 hundred Georgian soldiers from the Georgia Train and Equip Tank and Mechanized Company will learn everything from basic infantry skills to advanced mechanized infantry and tank tactics.

"The training you are about to undergo will be extremely demanding and will challenge soldiers at every level," said Maj. Keane, the GTEP Phase IIIE commanding officer, during the opening ceremony held Jan. 2, at the Krtsanisi 9/11 Training Area.

Interim President, Nino Burjanadze and Lt.Gen. David Tevzadze, the Georgian Minister of Defense, thanked the Georgian soldiers for their devotion to their country and noted that GTEP has helped the Georgian military gain attention from international governments and agencies. They also thanked the U.S. military, specifically the GTEP training staff for actively strengthening the bond between the two nations. Other distinguished guests in attendance at the opening ceremony included U.S. Ambassador Richard Miles, Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe, Maj. Gen. Jack Davis and the head of the Georgian Orthodox church Archbishop Ilia II.

Before the Georgians stood proudly before their families and government officials, they conducted their initial fitness test, based on Army standards, and physicals to ensure they were capable of handling the rigors of the training program.

"I promise you that we will be at your side from now until you stand proudly before your country at graduation," said Keane. "We will give you 100 percent of ourselves and ask only that you give the same in return."

During the 14-week training cycle, the mechanized infantry company, tank company, engineers, 120mm mortarmen and headquarters company will spend their first four weeks learning marksmanship, land navigation, landmine awareness and basic first aid. Georgian soldiers will spend the latter half of the training evolution learning the fundamental skills and tactics required of their individual jobs. The program also includes conditioning hikes and Marine Corps martial arts training incorporated throughout the 100 training days.

The culmination of this training cycle will be a combined arms company live fire exercise with T-72 tanks, BMPs with dismounted infantry and 120mm mortars that will test the knowledge and skills of every soldier.

"The unit as well as each individual will feel great pride in personal accomplishment and confidence in their warrior skills," said Keane.

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