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Soldiers tour city of light during cultural day Sgt. Gregory Williams

Service members visit the Church of St. Jovan Bogoslov at Kaneo during a cultural day June 2, 2013, in Ohrid, Macedonia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams/Released)

OHRID, Macedonia – After a week of taking emergency medical response and interagency cooperation courses, service members toured “The pearl of Macedonia” during exercise Shared Resilience 13’s Cultural Day.

More than 250 service members visited the church of St. Sophia, the Ancient theatre of Ohrid, Lake Ohrid, and various other sites on June 2, 2013 covering more than 2,000 years of Macedonian history during their trip.

“During all of these activities a cultural day is needed to bring people closer together and to help them learn about one another to build a common spirit, said Lt. Col. Doshan Stojanovikj, co-director of exercise SR-13, Republic of Macedonia Army Medical Center. “Cultural day also gives service members a chance to recharge and rest so they will be ready to undertake the challenges to come during the rest of the exercise.”

“The City of Ohrid was deliberately chosen because of its scenery and rich historical heritage,” Stojanovikj said. “One of the objectives of the cultural day was to show the beauty of his country to the multi national service members.”

“It was such a beautiful setting and I was impressed with the 365 churches that were in the city,” Maj. MaryAnn Neely, an assistant chief nurse with the 320th Medical Company, said. “I loved the churches that we visited and the monastery on the lake was captivating.”

Neely said this was her first foreign exercise and was glad she had an opportunity to not only learn about Macedonian culture, but those of her peers who reside in the Balkan region.

“I think cultural day is important because we gain a deeper understanding of all the countries involved in the exercise and how they live their lives from day to day,” Neely said. “Once you learn a little bit more about their past and history, you gain a better understanding, which makes people bond closer together when you’re exposed to their community.”

Service members from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and the U.S were reminded that unity is essential to mission success during the trip, which allowed them to refocus on the disaster response exercise.

“This cultural day was amidst an exercise where we have a mix of participants from different religious backgrounds so this day was to show the regional and national character of this exercise.” Stojanovikj said. “I’m certain this cultural day brought great quality to exercise Shared Resilience and will undoubtedly contribute to its success and realization.”

Neely said she was convinced this cultural day trip brought soldiers together and believes cultural days could add an everlasting sense of camaraderie between multi national partners.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this experience a ten,” Neely said. “For all exercises conducted by the Army I think cultural days should always take place no matter where soldiers are working.”


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This work, Soldiers tour city of light during cultural day, by SGT Gregory Williams, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:06.02.2013

Date Posted:06.03.2013 11:03

Location:MK

More Like This

  • More than 250 service members took part in an opening day ceremony May 28 in Pepelishte, Macedonia. The ceremony is the beginning of exercise Shared Resilience 13, which is designed to bring together medical professionals from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and U.S. forces in order to enhance interagency coordination.

The focus of this year’s exercise will be conducting Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR), Crisis Response, and Consequence Management operations in response to a natural disaster. More than 300 participants are expected to take part in medical classes, certification courses, a mass casualty response exercise, and an earthquake simulation.
  • U.S. service members of Shared Resilience 2012 participated in a SR12 Cultural Day tour of nearby historic and holy sites here June 3.
  • More than 200 multinational attendees from Shared Resilience 2012 participated in a sports day here June 2.
  • Service members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia are expanding their communications and strengthening relationships with more than 35 other nations from around the world during Combined Endeavor 2011, which began Sept. 8, in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

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