LOZEN, Bulgaria - A team of U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion continue to build relationships and enhance interoperability with Bulgarian Land Forces soldiers and the Bulgarian Red Cross during a first-aid and emergency response training in Lozen, Bulgaria, May 10, 2022.
Since January, Civil Affairs Team 0733, from the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Arden Hills, Minnesota, has been working with the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and soldiers assigned to the Civil-Military Cooperation Company, 78th Support Battalion, Bulgarian Land Forces, to build relationships around the country and enhance interoperability.
Team Leader of Civil Affairs Team 0733 U.S. Army Capt. Kesa Channoy says, “we are here to demonstrate our commitment and conviction to our expanding partnership, to our cooperation, solidarity and common interests. Today’s world is complex and full of uncertainty as it has always been. So being open, diligent, vigilant and willing to work together as one team makes us stronger.”
Bulgarian Civil-Military Cooperation Company Commander Capt. Martin Margitin similarly expressed the importance of their partnership, “the cooperation between the Bulgarian Civil-Military Cooperation and U.S. Army Civil Affairs is beneficial for both sides. We have to continue to build relations for the success of future missions.”
The partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross is one of many coordinated efforts between civilian and military actors in emergencies. Soldiers from both sides learned to conduct first-aid, how to respond in a variety of emergencies and the structure of the Bulgarian Red Cross as part of the International Red Cross Movement.
“Thank you to the Bulgarian Red Cross for hosting our training. Our combined training yesterday once again demonstrated the importance of civil-military cooperation. Our training yesterday would not have been possible without your help,” Channoy said.
The training concluded with a ceremony the following day that was attended by Deputy Chief of Mission Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez, U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria, and Maj. Gen. Mihail Dimitrov Popov, commander of Bulgarian Land Forces.
“I have been very impressed by the level of collaborations between the Bulgarian Civil-Military Cooperation Company and the American Civil Affairs Team,” said Brouillette-Rodriguez. “It is clear that they have made great strides to integrate with one another. Whether it is regular meetings, working to understand each other’s doctrine, or meeting officials across Bulgaria together, they are showing us what it truly means to be Allies.”
The coordination between U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Bulgarian Civil-Military Cooperation and local civilian organizations are crucial in supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region and are necessary to protect and promote humanitarian principles.
Bulgaria is a steadfast and gracious host, and the U.S. is honored to continue our long-term cooperation through engagements such as bilateral exchanges to improve partnership interoperability.