SLUNJ, Croatia (May 28, 2012) -- Immediate Response 12, or IR12, the multinational military exercise between U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Air Force, the Croatian Land Forces and partner militaries from six other Balkan nations, began with an opening ceremony here May 26.

Maj. Gen. Dragutin Repinc, commander of Croatian Land Forces, spoke before the more than 700 participants.

"It is an honor to welcome you to the international military exercise Immediate Response 2012, here at the training area 'Eugen Kvaternik,' Slunj, one of the largest military installations in Croatia," Repic said.

U.S. Army Europe's 2nd Cavalry Regiment, along with members of the USAREUR staff and Joint Multinational Training Center, are supporting this Croatian-led multinational tactical field training exercise that also involves platoon-sized elements from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Slovenia. Macedonia and Serbia will send observers to the exercise which is scheduled to take place from May 26 to June 9.

"In these following two weeks you will stand strong one beside another. I hope that the cooperation and team work will only flourish and that perhaps many new friendships amongst our armies will grow and sustain the weather of time," said Repinc. "So, without further adieu, I proudly pronounce the international military exercise "Immediate Response 2012" - OPEN! May it be a success and good luck to you all. "

To see more images from the opening ceremonies and exercise events throughout the next two weeks, visit the USAREUR Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarmyeurope_images.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia, building teams, assuring allies and deterring enemies. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for U.S. actions such as in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.