Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 opens in Ukraine
Soldiers from participant nations stand in formation, July 8, 2013, during the opening ceremony for Exercise Rapid Trident 2013, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, Ukraine. Rapid Trident 2013 is a U.S. Army-Europe led, ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

YAVORIV, Ukraine (July 8, 2013) -- Land forces from 17 nations began two weeks of collective training in a ceremony at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here, today, to mark the official start of Exercise Rapid Trident 2013.

Rapid Trident is a U.S. Army Europe led, U.S. European Command Joint Training and Exercise Program designed to enhance interoperability between forces and promote regional stability and security.

"Over the last several months Ukraine has set the highest of standards, and supported by dedicated planners from our partner countries, has set the conditions for excellent training," said Col. Alfred Renzi, exercise co-director, during his remarks at the opening ceremony.

Approximately 1,300 troops from 17 countries, including host Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. will participate in this year's exercise.

The exercise is focused around a week-long field-training exercise, or FTX, during which the multinational force will conduct operations against a simulated enemy. In preparation for the FTX, units will undergo one week of situational training exercises that focus on key tasks such as countering improvised-explosive devices, convoy operations and patrolling.

This year's exercise is the 11th iteration of Rapid Trident, which was previously conducted under the name "Peace Shield," from 1998 to 2002.

U.S. units participating in the exercise include an airborne-infantry company from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Observer Coach Trainers from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, 21st Theater Support Command, U.S. Army Europe and the California Army National Guard.

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