Vermont is a partner of the Macedonian Army in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme. Shooting and operations in an urban environment were the focus of a recent drill at the Krivolak military range in Macedonia.
By Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje – 12/10/06
US Army officers (right, left) train Macedonian military police officers (centre) on taking position and quickly aiming their AK-47 assault rifles, during a joint exercise in the military training area Krivolak in September. Eighteen military instructors from the National Guard of Vermont shared their combat experiences with two platoons of the Macedonian Army military police battalion. [Getty Images]
Macedonia's military police and the United States National Guard held joint military manoeuvres last month. The exercise, held from September 12th to September 23rd at the Krivolak military range in southeast
Macedonia, was part of a ten-month small unit exchange project. Macedonia already has a military contingent in Iraqi Freedom, and also participates in the NATO mission in Afghanistan and the EU-Althea mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The goal of these exchanges with instructors from Vermont is to train Macedonian Army (ARM) military police platoons to take part in international peacekeeping missions next year.
In the September drill, two platoons of the ARM Military Police Battalion and a military and police platoon of the Vermont National Guard participated in the manoeuvres, practicing urban environment operations. Vermont is a partner of the ARM in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme.
The United States and Macedonia have already had 11-years of co-operation in the area of security, said Major General Michael Dubie of the Vermont National Guard.
Carrying out training exercises together will improve the combat preparedness of ARM members and their capabilities in the fight against terrorism, he added. The Vermont National Guard takes special pride in the fact that US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld awarded three Macedonian soldiers for heroism demonstrated during international missions in Iraq, Dubie said.
Macedonian soldiers have undergone substantial training carried out by teams from Vermont this year, said Major General Atanas Jovcevski, commander of the ARM Joint Operational Command. This time, he said, the combat experience US instructors gained in missions in Iraq and Afghanistan was passed along.
"We want to show in practice that Macedonia has well-trained soldiers and commanders and teams under the NATO standards who make firm steps to accomplishing the final goal of Macedonian membership in NATO," Jovcevski said.