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article imageUS & SA troops head to Port Elizabeth, South Africa for training

By Anne Sewell     Jul 13, 2013 in World
Port Elizabeth - It seems South Africa and the USA are collaborating in training exercises for military troops in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape later this month.
The training exercises are dubbed "Operation Shared Accord," which was last held in South Africa in 2011, when troops invaded the Port of Ngqura in a mock land invasion exercise.
According to Military spokesman Captain Jaco Theunissen, one of the primary focuses of the exercise is to exchange training techniques.
The operation will involve around 5,000 soldiers from the US and South African armies, broken down roughly as 1400 US military and 3600 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) officers.
Operation Shared Accord 2013 will be an exercise to enhance operational sharing and training measures between the two countries, and will also, reportedly, provide medical, dental and veterinary services to local communities.
Theunissen told the media that some troops were setting up tents in Port Elizabeth last week.
"There are various command centers earmarked around the city, one of which is at the Cape Recife shooting range."
"The South African military will be setting up tents and their equipment at the shooting range, while the US will be posted at another location," he said.
SANDF Lieutenant Colonel Gus Claassens was reported in DefenceWeb back in March, stressing the importance of the exercise:
“It is important on two levels: first, to develop skills of own soldiers, compared with a first-world country, for our own purposes. Secondly, to enable international co-operation because the world is shrinking and the Army is busy getting more involved in Africa, so at one point in time we’ll end up working shoulder-to-shoulder. Commonality is important.”
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Saatkamp, CCP executive office, said, “Anytime you open a dialogue with someone from a different culture and it's a positive one based on mutual experience being in the military, you start to build trust. That trust leads to capacity building capabilities between two countries.”
Military troops will also apparently be based in Bhisho, Grahamstown and East London as part of the 12-day exercise, starting on July 24 and running through to August 5, 2013.
More about US, South Africa, Port elizabeth, Military, Soldiers
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