As the sun began to set on the evening of August 30, 2018, Task Force Manchu ended the day with a 5K road march with our NATO partners. The march was one of events that took place for Georgian Peace Keeper Day officially on August 31, 2018. Soccer and volleyball games, an award ceremony, and a dinner of Georgian dishes ensued in celebration of the unity and collaboration between coalition forces.
Since 1999, Georgian armed forces have been involved in multiple NATO and EU driven peacekeeping missions. Currently, around 900 Georgian Soldiers serve in Afghanistan, an infantry platoon resides in the Central African Republic, and a group of them work in Mali. The Georgians made it clear their support is undying.
Combined Forces showed their appreciation by celebrating the 31st of August dubbed their holiday, "Georgian Peacekeeper Day," by the Georgian Minister of Defense to acknowledge the Georgian's undying commitment to the mission. In celebration of this holiday, Soldiers of Task Force Manchu participated in several events at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan to commemorate Georgian history, culture, folklore and cuisine.
On August 30, 2018, all units composing Task Force Manchu participated in a 5K ruck march. This was one of many events that joined together the U.S. and coalition forces in celebration of the Georgian Peacekeeper Day. Football and volleyball games also ensued. The friendly competition allowed for bonding to occur between units. The final event of Georgian Peacekeeper Day was a dinner of traditional Georgian dishes prepared by our Georgian brothers and sisters of the 11th Georgian Light Infantry Battalion.
Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment also took a lot away from the celebration. SGT Joshua Boucher of Havoc Company mentioned, "I wanted to participate in the activities to interact with our Czech, Georgian, and Marine partners outside of a duty environment. Also to better understand more of the culture and values these troops from other branches and countries practice. Outside of just hearing about the country of Georgia, I feel I have grasped a small understanding of the holiday through these interactions."
Havoc Company commander also commented on his experience with our coalition forces in celebration of the holiday. CPT Brendon Fox explained, "The Georgian Peacekeeper's Day was an awesome event. It is important to understand the culture and homeland of our coalition partners. After attending this event I am definitely planning on visiting Georgia for myself someday."
Georgian officer, LTC Chitanova stated, "We look forward to this day to show we don't quit." Adding, "It feels good to see the coalition show us appreciation for our work."
The Georgians uphold this "never give up" attitude on Georgian Peacekeeper Day, as well as every day in their workplace. They share the same goal of securing a victory for every mission they receive. The Georgians as well as our other coalition forces are indeed strong allies that we are honored to serve with.