MARIETTA, Ga. - The Georgia Army National Guard participated in the Military Reserve Exchange Program June 1-15 by hosting Capt. Moritz Bald, a German Bundeswehr officer assigned to the German Ministry of Defense in Berlin.

The program integrates NATO and partner allies into the Georgia National Guard ranks and lets foreign officers train with their American counterparts. It also allows Georgia Guardsmen to visit and train with our partners in other countries.

"The exchange program allows us to train with and learn from our allies and partners," said Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Carden Jr, Georgia's Adjutant General. "We welcome these opportunities because they make us all more capable; thanks to Capt. Bald and the German Armed Forces for their engagement in this excellent program."

Bald integrated with units from the Marietta-based 201st Regional Support Group while the unit trained in Memphis, Tenn., for homeland disaster response training. Additionally, the officer visited the Elberton-based 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment's brigade artillery live-fire at Fort Riley, Kan.

The Memphis Shake 2019 exercise allowed Bald to see first-hand the capabilities of Georgia Guardsman in responding to a complex domestic disaster and providing an "On Call" rapid response to render assistance.

"The [201st's] ability to conduct a dual mission with Guardsmen is impressive," said Bald. "Disaster response in Germany is solely the focus of civilian agencies."

Georgia National Guardsmen have two missions: providing a homeland disaster response capability and providing trained and ready operational forces to the active component. This dual mission is a unique feature of the National Guard.

Bald got into the action during the exercise, volunteering to be a "victim" role player. He and approximately 50 other role players simulated injuries and had to be rescued by members of the 201st.

"My rescue was very realistic," said Bald. "From triage, decontamination and being treated, by the medical staff was quick and effective."

The 1-214th Field Artillery's fire exercise provided insight into the capability of the combined fire of the Georgia Guard. The battalion trained on the full spectrum of artillery operations for their two-week annual training event.

"The 1-214th training was impressive," said Bald. "The Guardsmen's ability to leave their work and perform these tasks on short notice is striking."

The Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP) launched on February 8, 1985, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the German Federal Minister of Defense and the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America to strengthen the existing living links between the two armed forces. Based on this agreement, German and American reserve officers of all branches of the armed forces participate in the exchange program. The highly selective program swaps 25 officers annually for the event.

The German Army will reciprocate by hosting a Georgia Guardsman in the fall of 2019.

"I'd like to thank the Georgia Army National Guard for hosting me and allowing me to observe their Soldiers," said Bald. "We look forward to hosting a Georgia Guardsman in September."