YEREVAN, Armenia – Armenian and U.S. Soldiers from the 12th Peacekeeping Brigade and 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Task Force Mountain, and Kansas National Guard held a closing ceremony for Eagle Partner 23 on Sept. 20.
Standing in front of their nation’s flags and a custom-made “Eagle Partner” flag, the service members were recognized for their hard work and dedication. Over the 10-day exercise, Soldiers trained on medical readiness, peacekeeping operations and small arms proficiency.
“You could really see at the beginning of the exercise sort of three distinct teams with elements of Active Duty, National Guard and Armenian Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Kennedy, Kansas Army National Guard, who served as the exercise deputy director. “But as we went through the exercise, they came together and gelled as one cohesive team.”
Col. Arsen Mangasaryan, commander of the 12th Peacekeeping Brigade and the exercise director, said the two nations worked well together.
“Of course, there are some differences on how we do things, but that’s why we conduct these exercises: to figure out those differences, “he said. “But at the end, you could see a cohesive unit that could work together and conduct missions together.”
He said the success of the exercise makes it likely there will be an Eagle Partner 24.
“There are already some talks about it happening,“ he said. “Of course, we have to come up with a decision for the future, but I hope that it is going to happen.”
As part of the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, the Kansas National Guard has partnered with Armenia since 2003.
“We typically do 30 to 40 events [annually] ranging from mil-to-mil and civ-to-civ interactions between our state and the Armenian government, and it is appreciated on both sides,” said Kennedy.
Eagle Partner is a peacekeeping training exercise with approximately 85 U.S. Soldiers and 175 Armenian soldiers working together.
The exercise also prepared the Armenian 12th Peacekeeping Brigade for a NATO operational capabilities concept evaluation under the NATO Partnership for Peace program later this year.