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U.S., Kenyan Militaries to Conduct Bilateral Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070226-04
Release Date: 2/26/2007 11:36:00 AM

By 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Bataan Strike Group (SG) will conduct a bilateral military exercise in March with land and Naval forces from the Kenyan military during Edged Mallet ’07.

The annual exercise provides U.S. and Kenyan armed forces the opportunity to refine operational skills while enhancing an ability to work together effectively, as well as strengthening a longstanding military-to-military relationship existing between the United States and Kenya.

The exercise will include small arms live-fire and bilateral patrols on designated Kenyan military areas, and will remain transparent to local populations and the general public.

In addition, U.S. military personnel, in conjunction with Kenyan engineers and military doctors, will assist coastal civilian communities with a school refurbishment project and medical clinic.

“These projects bring together U.S. and Kenyan military personnel to assist Kenyan civilians, while providing practical training for our engineers and medical specialists,” said Marine Col. Gregg A. Sturdevant, commanding officer of the 26th MEU.

The 26th MEU departed North Carolina Jan. 6 on a routine deployment as the landing force with the Bataan SG. In addition to USS Bataan (LHD-5), the strike group is comprised of USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), USS Shreveport (LPD-12), USS Nitze (DDG-94), USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), USS Underwood (FFG-36) and USS Scranton (SSN-756).

The Bataan SG is currently supporting maritime security operations (MSO) in the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of operations. MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

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