PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (July 23, 2013) -- U.S. military forces are teaming up with South African National Defense Forces for Shared Accord 13, near Port Elizabeth, July 24-Aug. 7, 2013.

Shared Accord is an annual training exercise involving in-depth joint cohesion between U.S. and South African military forces during multiple training scenarios.

"This mission is designed to increase interoperability and build friendships with the South African Defense Force," said Maj. Chuck Slagle, executive officer for 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

The exercise involves many participants to include about 700 American military members from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force and more than 3,000 South African National Defense Forces, or SANDF, members.

"Anybody can learn from anyone. We definitely learn from each other and can contribute our expertise to these exercises," said South African Military Health Services Capt. François Van Huyssteen, veterinarian with the Military Veterinary Institute.

Shared Accord 13, or SA 13, is a large-scale operation that will include multiple training missions to test the capabilities of both militaries. It will include an amphibious assault, combined live-fire exercise, situational training exercises and a tactical airborne assault, which will lead into a Humanitarian Civic Action event, known as an HCA, for the South African community.

"It's great having all the Americans here," said Sgt. Maj. Andrew Stanley, watch officer for SA 13. "It shows the military capabilities and also the cooperation between the different forces."

HCA will provide health services to include dental, HIV screening and ophthalmology services, Slagle said.

Another aspect to HCA will be mobile veterinary services to include rabies vaccinations and tick treatments, Van Huyssteen said.

Through all of the exercises in SA 13, both militaries hope to improve skills while learning from one another.

"We're both here to learn," said Slagle. "The South Africans have a lot of experience and really we're just sharing. We're not training them on anything. We're improving each other through this exercise."