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Five NATO nations kick off Platinum Lion 15-3

US Marine Corps News

By Staff Sgt. Wayne Edmiston | July 7, 2015

Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force and service members from Bulgaria, Romania, the United Kingdom and Albania started Exercise Platinum Lion 15-3, July 6, 2015 at the Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria.

The two-week training exercise is designed to strengthen the partnerships between the NATO nations and share knowledge to help improve their military skill sets.

"Platinum Lion is designed to promote regional cooperation and foster interoperability between our nations in order to combat security threats," said U.S. Marine Capt. Michael R. McNicoll, commanding officer of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment with BSRF. "We will do this through realistic training where we can share our ideas, thoughts, techniques, tactics and procedures."

The exercise consists of classroom training, multiple live-fire events, military police training, maneuver training and one culminating event. The culminating event will consist of a three-day live-fire platoon attack exercise that is designed to provide a challenging and realistic training scenario.

McNicoll was optimistic on what the training will provide for not only the Marines but for all the NATO nations involved in the training.

"I believe we have a lot to learn from each other," said McNicoll. "I look forward to seeing how we progress throughout this exercise together."

Bulgarian Army Col. Iavor Mateev, Head of the Joint Military Facilities Department at the Bulgarian Defense Ministry, was in attendance at the opening ceremony.

Mateev offered words of encouragement and explained that similar exercises in the past have a track record of success, serving to advance the mission of NATO.

"Platinum Lion became one of the greatest examples in Europe for the real implementation of connected forces and NATO smart defense initiatives," said Mateev.

Mateev was truly proud of the joint training facility at Novo Selo and believed it to be a world class military site for the conduct of the exercise.

It is more important that our great nations work together as part of NATO and build these partnerships, according to Mateev.

"I wish everyone success, and that each of you meet the goals you came here to accomplish," said Mateev.

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