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NEWS | Sept. 8, 2020

North Macedonia, U.S. enhance readiness with exercise

By Sgt. 1st Class Melisa Washington 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

KRIVOLAK, North Macedonia – Approximately 120 military members from the United States and North Macedonia participated in the U.S.-led exercise Reinforced Dam Sept. 1-7 at Krivolak Training Area in North Macedonia. Reinforced Dam is the first joint training exercise between the U.S. and North Macedonia since North Macedonia became a NATO partner earlier this year.

U.S. participation consisted of elements from 2nd Infantry Brigade 162 Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation Regiment, Colorado Army National Guard, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Texas Army National Guard, and 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company. U.S. participants are deployed to Kosovo as a part of the NATO-led Kosovo Force. Supporting elements include 7th Army Training Command, 21st Theatre Sustainment Command, and Area Support Group Balkans from U.S. Army Europe.

Exercise Reinforced Dam was designed to enhance NATO partnerships and increase combat readiness and interoperability in a realistic, multinational training environment. The exercise allowed participants to conduct situational training exercises, weapons cross-training, live-fire exercises and exchange infantry tactics.

Oregon Army National Guard Lt. Col Kyle Akers, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, said exercises like Reinforced Dam demonstrate the strong partnerships between NATO allies and enhance each nation’s operational readiness.

“Reinforced Dam was an opportunity to collectively increase interoperability as well as test our individual readiness and rapid deployment capabilities,” said Akers.

Before arriving in North Macedonia, U.S. exercise participants underwent testing for COVID-19. Precautionary measures were also taken to ensure the health and protection of participating armed forces and the local population.

Exercises like Reinforced Dam continue to demonstrate that NATO allies and partners stand stronger together with the commitment to enhance cooperation and security in the Western Balkans.