The Distinguished Visitors Day at the Dragoon Guardian 17 exercise was held today at the Krivolak military training arena, attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, the Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Radmila Shekerinska, the Chief of the General Staff of the ARM, Lieutenant General Metodija Velichkovski, the US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia; Jess Baily, Ministers in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, senior representatives of the ARM and MOD, Defense Attachés and representatives of the NATO Liaison Office.
At the beginning, Lt. Col.. Vasil Mitevski reported to the Minister Shekerinska regarding the activities contained in the plan for realization of the exercise “Dragoon Guardian 17”.
Minister Shekerinska expressed her gratitude and congratulated all members of the two armies involved in the exercise.
The attendants headed for the first of the two exercise activities scheduled for the day, where members of the engineering units of the two armies demonstrated how to deal with improvised explosive devices. The second presented exercise activity was the preparation of an airstrip for UAVs at the training area Krivolak.
In his statement to the press, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev expressed satisfaction that the Macedonian Army was taking part in exercises along with the US Army, conducted around the world, in the course of which, together with US troops and soldiers from EU countries, they take care about the overall peace in the world and guard freedom.
“It is a great pleasure for me that by participating in such military exercie3se, the soldiers pave the way for the Republic of Macedonia towards attaining full-fledged membership to NATO”, said Zaev, adding that he ias proud that our Army could stand side by side with the professionals from the US Army.
The US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, H.E. Jess Baily said the exercise was an opportunity to present military co-operation.
“We see the US and the Macedonian soldiers working together on two specific tasks for the engineering units. As you know, in every military operation, the engineers are a key component. This is proof that our soldiers can work together on achieving their tasks. Such activities also help the units not only to prepare for military operations, but also for humanitarian events … We think that this activity helps in advancing Macedonia’s aspirations to join the NATO alliance” – added Bailey.
The “Dragoon Guardian 17” exercise is performed by 300 members of the US Army Europe Engineers Squadron and 95 members of the engineering battalion of the ARM First Mechanized Infantry Brigade, as well as the CBRN company along with equipment and tools for performing several tasks and assignments, including the building of a 300 meter-long airsptrip for UAVs.
The exercise, which began on July 28 and will last until August 10, is intended for training and promotion of mutual understanding and confidence building, as well as strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the Army of the Republic of Macedonia and the US Armed Forces.