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Steppe Eagle 2015 officially underway

April 8, 2015
By Maj. Angel Jackson

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Exercise Steppe Eagle 2015 officially began with an opening ceremony April 6, here, at Ilisky Training Area.

Soldiers from the U.S. and U.K. joined Kazakhstani soldiers on the parade field to mark the beginning of the two-phase training event. Participants will focus on refining peacekeeping and peace support operations tasks, while improving interoperability and military cooperation with key partner nations.

Gen. Maj. Daulet Ospanov, commander of the Kazakhstan Airmobile Forces, said exercise Steppe Eagle is a very good tradition.

'The experience gained by our soldiers is very valuable,' said Daulet. He added that with their partners, the Kazakhstanis would work on enhancing interoperability and readiness in order to participate in joint peacekeeping operations with partner nations.

In its 13th iteration, Steppe Eagle provides multilateral forces with the opportunity to promote cooperation among participating forces, practice crisis management, and enhance readiness through realistic, modern-day interactive scenarios.

Col. Andrew Berrier, U.S. defense attaché, said, as partner nations get closer to deploying on UN peacekeeping missions, exercise Steppe Eagle is growing more important.

'All partners in Steppe Eagle share a unifying vision of contributing to peace and stability around the world, and to ease the suffering of those less fortunate,' said Berrier. 'It is this common commitment to U.N. principles that sets Steppe Eagle apart as a unique venue for cooperation.'

Soldiers from U.S. Army Central, the Arizona National Guard and the 50th Military Engagement Team are among those participating in the exercise. Phase two of exercise Steppe Eagle is set to begin in June.

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