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Opening Ceremony Of The 2009 Steppe Eagle Multinational Exercise

September 14, 2009
U.S. Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland

Mr. Minister, Generals, Mr. Ambassador, Distinguished Guests – good morning!  It is an honor and a privilege for me to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2009 Steppe Eagle multinational exercise.
I am grateful for the opportunity to participate at the opening of this multinational exercise – the seventh since it first began in 2003.  Steppe Eagle has been, and will continue to be, a first-class example of multinational cooperation.  I look forward to what I know will be an extremely rewarding and successful exercise for the warriors of KAZBRIG, Seventh Rifles Regiment, Arizona and Puerto Rico National Guards, NATO and U.S. Army Central Command.  Why is the annual Steppe Eagle exercise important?  There are many reasons – you are a reflection of the commitment of our nations to develop and enhance our mutual cooperation and understanding.

At your level, the focus of this exercise is to improve your operational capabilities, combat readiness, and ability to conduct Peace Support Operations as part of  internationally sanctioned multinational operations.  Achieving these critically important goals is important to local, regional, and global security.  As you and we know, it is you, the soldiers here today, that are the critical part of achieving those goals.

The culmination of this year’s Steppe Eagle will be the training events and self-evaluation of the 2nd Battalion of KAZBRIG - an extremely important element in our efforts to ensure that KAZBRIG is trained, combat-ready, and deployable in order to support our mutual goals, but more importantly the strategic interests of Kazakhstan as well as its allies and partners.

You are a team that shares the common bonds of a warrior culture, as brothers-in-arms.  It is a bond that spans generations and that is reinforced each and every time you train together.   You have shared the field of battle as comrades-in-arms in Iraq, and may soon do so again as a part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.  

For all that you do, and for the opportunity to address you today, I thank you and I salute you.  I wish you well!  Again I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of Steppe Eagle 2009.

Ambassador's Remarks