US, TNI-AD Soldiers bring Aloha spirit during Garuda Shield 13
June 18, 2013
- We will also use the monetary donations to purchase medicine and supplies for the children.
- It was a humbling feeling to spend time with these children, especially on Father's Day.
CIMANGGIS, Indonesia - Soldiers of the Hawaii Army National Guard and Tentara Nasional Indonesia Army (TNI-AD) took some time during Exercise Garuda Shield 2013 to visit severely disabled children at a local orphanage and donate goods to the Wisma Tuna Ganda Palsigunung in Cimanggis June 16, 2013.
"It's an example of how our team was able to bring the 'Aloha Spirit' to the people of Indonesia," said Lt. Col. Mark B. Young, Hawaii Army National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters executive officer. "It is an honor and a blessing to have had these children welcome us into their home and their hearts."
The institution was founded in 1975 and operates primarily on donations from members of the local community, and supplemented by government subsidies and donations from other orphanages.
"It is our pleasure and we are very grateful for all the donations from the soldiers. We will use food and milk supplies to feed the children," said facility coordinator Kristanti. "We will also use the monetary donations to purchase medicine and supplies for the children," Kristanti added.
According to Kristantu, the orphanage houses roughly 30 severely disabled children, many of which were either abandoned by their parents or needed care beyond their parents ability.
"It was a humbling feeling to spend time with these children, especially on Father's Day," Young said. "Despite their mental and physical disabilities, we were able to communicate with the children through the common language of love."
As some of the children's smiles lit up, a handful attempted to sing a song for the Soldiers led by staff members of the institution. Then, a TNI-AD soldier performed a couple of magic tricks that were enjoyed by the children before the soldiers had to leave.
"It brings a peaceful feeling seeing the togetherness of the U.S. Soldiers and TNI-AD soldiers visiting our orphanage," Kristanti said. "This was an awesome visit, and I hope the soldiers can visit again."
The soldiers are participating in Exercise Garuda Shield 2013, a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) exercise which focuses on developing the respective militaries' ability to contribute to U.N. peace support operations, and strengthen the nations' growing military relationship.
U.S. and Indonesia soldiers worked side-by-side planning and executing a combined brigade-level command post exercise based on United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping scenario and a field-training exercise based on a peace keeping operation scenario.
The exercise involves troops from U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC); the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Army (TNI-AD), Kostrad 1st Division; 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division; and the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat, 17th Airborne Brigade.
Along with a series of parachute jumps, about 500 paratroopers of both nations conducted infantry training and operations during the exercise, to include Jungle Survival Training, weapons familiarization and marksmanship.
This marks the seventh iteration of this bilateral exercise since 2004.