Soldiers of Task Force Spartan, including the Virginia and Maryland Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Division and its subordinate units, participated in Eagle Resolve 2017 - a joint, multinational regional training event in Kuwait from March 19 through April 6, 2017.
More than 3,000 military members from the U.S., Kuwait, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the three-week exercise which featured training on air defense, border security, and counterterrorism. All training scenarios shared a common theme of promoting regional security.
Maj. Gen. Ralph H. Groover, III, U.S. Central Command's director of exercises and training directorate, said the benefits of Eagle Resolve 2017 began over a year ago when the U.S. and Gulf Cooperation Council nations planned for the exercise.
"This exercise is all about building capacity and capability of each of our nations that are participating," said Groover. "We are stronger together as a group than we are individually. This was just another demonstration of how we can come together and act as a 'Force of One.'"
Since 1999, Eagle Resolve has become the leading engagement between the U.S. and GCC nations to collectively address the regional challenges associated with asymmetric warfare in a low-risk setting. This is Kuwait's second time hosting the exercise.
The culminating training demonstration showcased tactical demonstrations of searching and seizing, countering a chemical threat, and securing the border on land, air and sea.
In one hypothetical scenario, munitions loaded with a mustard gas chemical agent landed near a mosque resulting in a half-dozen casualties. After detecting and identifying the chemical agent, response personnel deployed, triaged, evacuated and treated the casualties while securing the area. The exercise tested each participant's ability to respond as a combined joint task force.
Lt. Gen. Mohammed Khaled Al-Khader, Kuwait's military chief of general staff said: "We are concerned about defending our Gulf, defending ourselves, our states and our nations. What is important for us is our continuous training so we can achieve the required level of fighting readiness."
In addition to planning and operations, one objective of Eagle Resolve was for the U.S. and participating nations to share tactics, techniques and procedures.
U.S. Soldiers from Task Force Spartan conducted hands-on training with their GCC counterparts in a search and rescue exercise on March 28, 2017. Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers played the role of the opposition force while GCC service members conducted room clearing search and rescue drills.
Other Task Force Spartan Soldiers participated in a maritime boarding searching and seizing safety exercise in the waters outside the Kuwait Naval Base. Visit, board, search, and seizure is the term used for boarding actions and tactics for the following: counterterrorism, capturing enemy vessels, combat piracy and conduct inspections.
When asked about the challenge of operating as part of a fast-moving, multi-lingual team, one special operations Marine veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan said, "We're developing relationships. It's like making an investment that is going to pay back interest across the whole (special operations force)."