Dodiklatpur, Indonesia - U.S. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stood with their Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat (TNI-AD Indonesia Armed Forces) counterparts as examples of the enduring, 70 year old relationship between the US and Indonesia during the opening ceremony of Exercise Garuda Shield 19.
Garuda Shield 19, the third exercise in Pacific Pathways 19-03 rotation, will feature bilateral military to military training including subject matter expert exchanges and platoon live fire exercises, increasing readiness and interoperability for both armies.
Indonesian Army Soldiers treated the U.S. Army soldiers to a show of traditional Indonesian marshal arts and feats of strength during the ceremony.
"We are linked by our common bond as soldiers, serving our respective nations and their people- and connected by a strong relationship between our countries dating back 70 years!," said Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, Deputy Commanding General for the United States Army Pacific.
The U.S. is proud to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic ties with Indonesia and a strategic partnership built on a foundation of shared values and friendship. This partnership led to the inception of bilateral exercises such as Garuda Shield, which is in its 13th iteration. The TNI-AD host Garuda Shield each year as a way to strengthen and nurture bonds of friendship.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Black Daggers parachute team performed with Indonesian paratroopers, jumping onto the parade field during the opening ceremony at Dodiklatpur and starting GS 19 with a show of force and giving soldiers on the ground a taste of the military-to-military training in the coming days.
"This exercise is not only about increasing professionalism of the soldier, but also to increase the esprit de corps that will culminate in reaching solidarity between our two countries," said Maj. Gen. Tri Yuniarto, Commander of 2nd Division, Indonesian Army Strategic Command.
Exercises like Garuda Shield contribute to regional peacekeeping capability throughout the Pacific Rim; fostering interoperability and competency in international peacekeeping operations.
As U.S. Soldiers work with their allied partners, they share lessons learned and experiences, allowing all parties to increase readiness and be better prepared to face any threats that might arise.
"I am looking forward to sharing with our brothers-in-arms to strengthen each other as we build friendships," said Spc. David Walters, an information technology specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 25th ID. "I am equally glad and thankful to be able to experience another culture and to assist in training the forces of freedom and democracy."
More than 700 U.S Army personnel from 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii, US Army Pacific Command, Hawaii, 10th Support Group, Japan, I Corps, Washington, and U.S Army National Guard from Michigan will participate in the Exercise. Making it not only bilateral training exercise but a true total force representation of the U.S Army.
The U.S. will continue to work together with its allied partners around the world through exercises such as Garuda Shield and Pacific Pathways to ensure a free and safe Indo-Pacific region.