Friday, 5 June 2009

American Marines Train With Bulgarian Marines

Since Bulgarian joined NATO in 2004, there has bee a unprecedented alliance between the two armed forces of the USA and Bulgaria. The main training grounds are in the southeatern area of Bulgaria, where I often see USA Air Force planes ducking and diving above my village over the Thracian plains, the shepherds and sheep are now used to the overhead noise they create.

Sliven is well known as a main training area for USA forces, they have their own American community settled in there. Now whether your think the US presence is good for Bulgarian national security or whether we you think would draw attention to terrorist plans is a big question here.

Several time zones away from America, thickets of thorns await Marines in a country not many of their brethren have trained in before.

Marines with Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, tackled skills such as land navigation, Military Operations in Urban Terrain and unknown-distance shooting aboard the Nova Selo Training Area in Sliven, Bulgaria, May 28 – June 1.

Bulgaria and the U.S. are strategic allies and their armies have successfully trained together in the past, though this time was a first for United States Marines.

Moving a Marine infantry company into a foreign country took much coordination with the American embassy and the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense. Several Marines went ahead of the main group to make liaison so things would be in place when the bulk of the group arrived.

"I really have to complement the Bulgarian military police," said 1st Lt. Brian D. Green, the executive officer for Kilo Co. and one of the advance party Marines. "They have been highly professional beyond our expectations and it's been an awesome experience."………
"Being in Bulgaria helps you keep that comradery with your squad. You get to learn each other's tactics a lot more," said Cpl. Christopher A. Maristany, a squad leader and Miami native. "These are the only guys we're going to be around for the next six months, so it brings us together."

Whether for the next six months or the next six years, this training opportunity was an experience the Marines can take with them.

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