MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - The president of Romania, Traian Basescu, and other distinguished guests visited U.S. and Romanian Land Force servicemembers participating in the 2009 Joint Task Force-East exercise at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield Aug 24.

U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, visited JTF-East along with Chairman of the Romanian Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Gheorghe Marin, Romanian Minister of Defense Mihai Stanisoara, and Jeri Guthrie-Corn, ChargAfA d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest.

"An extremely important thing is going on here -- trust -- from the military point of view," said Basescu, referring to the bilateral U.S.-Romanian training of JTF-East.

Servicemembers of both countries presented various examples of their daily training to more than four-dozen military and civic leaders. Presentations included combat lifesaving techniques, a water purification system, virtual weapons training systems, and a Humvee egress and assistance trainer.

Distinguished guests also viewed static displays of U.S. Stryker combat vehicles and Romanian military combat vehicles that are currently part of the training of JTF-East 2009.

"As the unit here is preparing for its next deployment," said Ham, "we get the opportunity to do this (training) alongside and in partnership with our Romanian counterparts. So, in addition to accomplishing mandatory training that we've got to do, we get the added benefit of teaching and learning from our Romanian counterparts - that, to me, is what makes the training so special."

JTF-East has an integrated operation with more than 3,800 Romanian, Bulgarian and U.S. servicemembers and other military and civilian support personnel participating in the three-month exercise through the end of October in the two countries.

The purpose of JTF-East is to build interoperability capabilities and develop relationships with other militaries in regional security cooperation.

Knowing one another, having an understanding of one another's techniques and equipment before deploying to Afghanistan, is extremely important for the cohesion of Romanian and American troops in operational theaters, said Basescu.

JTF-East continues to be one of the U.S. Army Europe's strategic priorities and plays a key role in the U.S. European Command's Theater Security Cooperation program, officials said. This year marks JTF-East's third official annual rotation.