Saturday, July 17, 2010

US and Malaysia launch exercise Keris Strike 2010

A bilateral command-post exercise sponsored by U.S. Army, Pacific designed to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Malaysia officially got under way this week in Malaysia with an opening ceremony at Camp Kuantan, here.

Hosted by the Malaysian Armed Forces Keris Strike 2010 is designed to not only strengthen the U.S./Malaysian relationship but to build on the peace support operational capacity of all those participating.

Leading the U.S. effort for the fourth year is the U.S. Army Reserve's 9th Mission Support Command, which serves as executive agent for Keris Strike by providing operational control, logistical coordination planning, life support for participants, and key personnel for the 14th annual event.

In addition to the 9th MSC, members of the Utah National Guard's 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the Guam National Guard's 1/294th Infantry Battalion, the 441st Military Intelligence Battalion, the 56th Theater Information Operation Group, the 411th and 413th Contracting Support Brigades, and U.S. Pacific Command play key roles in the training exercise.

Keris Strike will allow Soldiers to participate in academic training, a mini-staff exercise and a command post exercise. Participants from the U.S. and Malaysia will further strengthen their relationships by competing in sporting events and enjoying cultural activities.

"This is an excellent opportunity for us to continue to build on our relationship with the Malaysian Armed Forces," Brig. Gen. Michele G. Compton, 9th MSC commanding general said. "There's a lot we can learn from each other. Both the U.S. and the Malaysian militaries each have a lot of experiences we can share which continue to deepen the friendships we've developed over the years."

The commanding general of Malaysia's 3rd Division expressed the same enthusiasm about strengthening the military-to-military bond between the U.S. and Malaysia.

"I am extremely pleased to note that both the United States and the Malaysian Army have been able to work closely in this exercise," Maj. Gen. Dato' Razali Bin Hj Ahmad said. "The planning and the conduct of this exercise is a clear manifestation and expression of our intimate military ties in cooperation. I strongly believe that this special relationship will continue, and we will work hard to ensure it serves the interest of our countries."

Lt. Col. Kimo Dunn, commander of the 100th Battalion, 4-42 Infantry Regiment, 9th MSC, has participated in Keris Strike for at least five iterations. He says the relationships he has developed with Malaysians has grown stronger each year.

"I see some of the same faces each year I come back," Dunn said. "We've [the 9th MSC] been participating in Keris Strike for many years now. Each year we get better at making the exercise more efficient, and each year we continue to further enhance our partnership with the Malaysian Armed Forces."

The deputy brigade commander for the 204th MEB, Lt. Col Karl L. Wright, Utah Army National Guard, feels Soldiers from both the U.S. and Malaysia are teamed up and ready for the mission.

"Our aim is to learn from our Malaysian counterparts and draw from each other's experiences," Wright said. "We are learning to fight the language barrier, have patience in learning each others' military decision making process, and figuring out how to come together and plan to achieve mission success."

Exercise Keris Strike 2010 is scheduled to conclude July 23.


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