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    Exercise Decisive Strike 2019 Creates Memories and Builds Partnerships

    Decisive Strike 2019: 56th SBCT Blank Iteration of CALFEX

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Frances Ariele L Tejada | Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry, 56th Stryker Brigade...... read more read more



    Story by Pvt. Ashunteia Smith 

    5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    “I waited for the moment to come here and meet Americans; to meet new friends and experience new things,” said Pfc. Bojko Bojkovski, 1st Mechanized Infantry Company, Army of the Republic of North Macedonia.

    Exercise Decisive Strike 2019 presents American Soldiers and Soldiers from the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia the opportunity to strengthen the partnership between both countries, and build lasting relationships.

    Decisive Strike 2019 is North Macedonia’s first iteration of it’s largest multinational exercise that takes place at the Krivolak Military Training Centre in Krivolak, North Macedonia. It is co-led by the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia, along with the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

    “This is the first big exercise working with United States Army. It's great for our unit. You are a great army and we can gain a lot of experience working with you,’ said Sgt. 1st Class Shaban Malikji, 1st Mechanized Infantry Company, Army of the Republic of North Macedonia.

    Throughout the exercise, the American Soldiers had various opportunities to interact and build partnerships with Soldiers from other countries. There were several training exercises that focused on teaching the Soldiers the value of partnership. These exercises include combined arms operations in urban terrain environments, live fires, direct actions, special reconnaissance, and simulated medical evacuations.

    “Training with Soldiers from North Macedonia has been a great learning experience. They are a mechanized unit too, so we got to learn about their vehicles and the way they maneuver,” said Pfc. Alan Smith, 1st 111th Infantry Battalion, 56th SBCT.

    Exercise Decisive Strike 2019 also gave the Soldiers various opportunities to build lasting relationships, in ways other than training. One event involved Soldiers from the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 457th Civil Affairs Battalion teaming up with Soldiers from the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia to deliver U.S. donated books to the local schools around the North Macedonian communities.

    During a planned break in the exercise, the Soldiers were also able to experience their own “Cultural Day”. Cultural Day was created for the American Soldiers to get a chance to go out in the local communities and explore the country. Trips were made to the nation’s capital, Skopje, along with a visit to ‎Lake Ohrid, the largest lake in the country.

    “For it to be my first time with my unit overseas, I learned so much in a short period of time. We learned a lot about the culture and Soldiers from North Macedonia, it’s been a great experience” said Smith.

    As the exercise continues into July, Soldiers from both Armies live and train alongside one another to maintain the relationships and trust that they’ve built, working towards ensuring global security and life-long partnerships. All Soldiers involved have commemorated their memories with daily photos, exchanging of military uniform patches, and talks of shared experiences.

    “This exercise has been very beneficial for both Armies. I’ve made great relationships working with our allies. It’s been a lot of fun. Hopefully this exercise won’t be the last one,” said Sgt. 1st Class, 1st Mechanized Infantry Company, Army of the Republic of North Macedonia.



    Date Taken: 06.17.2019
    Date Posted: 06.17.2019 13:27
    Story ID: 327802
    Location: KRIVOLAK, MK
    Hometown: HORSHAM, PA, US

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