VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Georgia – Allied and partner nations from around the world gathered at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, for the opening ceremony of Noble Partner 20 Sept. 7.
Noble Partner 20 is a Georgian Defense Force and U.S. Army Europe cooperatively led exercise hosted at Vaziani and Camp Norio training areas. It is designed to enhance Georgian, regional partner, and U.S. force readiness and interoperability in a realistic, multinational training environment. Noble Partner is a recurring, biannual exercise in its fifth iteration. This year also marks the 26th year of the partnership agreement between the Georgia National Guard and the country of Georgia under the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.
“This exercise is an incredible display of commitment of cooperation between the United States and Georgia and between Georgia and NATO,” said U.S. Army Col. Stephanie Bagley, defense attaché to Georgia. “It is an opportunity to hone our skills to work together as a coalition, to enhance interoperability, as well as to show our future cooperation.”
Countries participating in this year’s exercise include France, Georgia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Active duty U.S. Army units training in the exercise include the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 12th and 101st Combat Aviation Brigades, and 18th Military Police Brigade. Components from the Georgia National Guard in the exercise include the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 78th Troop Command, 78th Aviation Troop Command, and 165th Airlift Wing.
This year’s training will include mechanized infantry maneuvers, helicopter attack and medical evacuation operations with rotor-wing aircraft, and a culminating combined arms live-fire exercise that integrates all participating forces.
Senior leaders and exercise coordinators spoke about the importance of partnership and training with allied and partnered countries.
“I’m very excited to be back here in the country of Georgia. I was fortunate enough to be here a couple of years ago at the last Noble Partner exercise,” said Georgia Army National Guard Col. Jason Fryman, U.S. exercise director. “I’m a walking testament that exercises like Noble Partner 20 allow us to bring partners and allies together to connect personally, professionally as well as technically and tactically. Interoperability though is not just about technology. It’s about people and processes. Those relationships here allow us to work with our partners and allies, hone those skills necessary for us to act as a coalition.”
Fryman said exercises like Noble Partner promote stability and security in the region and around the globe.
The Georgia National Guard and the country of Georgia became partners under the State Partnership Program in October 1994. The program’s first partnerships began in 1993, and the agreement between both Georgias is the 17th agreement in the program’s history.
“This exercise emphasizes interoperability and coordination with our partnered nations and our defense forces, strengthens our military readiness and defense capabilities to build trust, cooperation and friendship,” said Brig. Gen. Irakli Chichinadze, Georgian deputy chief of defense forces. “I’d like to express my appreciation to our many partners.”
Safety precautions are in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure during and after the exercise. The Georgian Ministry of Defense implemented a 14-day restriction of movement and required COVID-19 testing before entering Georgia, and COVID-19 screening will occur during the exercise.