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Thracian Fall exercise kicks off in Bulgaria

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria (AFNS) -- Service members from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Bulgarian air force are participating in a two-week jump exercise here from Oct. 9 through 22.

Operation Thracian Fall 2011 is part of a semi-annual, off-station training that gives U.S. and coalition jumpers and pilots an opportunity to hone their battlefield skills together.

Under cover of darkness, Marines conduct mock amphibious raid

Illuminated only by the few rays of moonlight that broke through the thick cloud cover, and with the sounds of their engines muffled by the distant thunder, the Marines pushed towards the beach in their amphibious assault vehicles.

As they hit the beach, they moved into position to launch a two-pronged attack, and quickly sped onto roads that lead to their objectives. One element broke off and headed towards the northern objective, where they would begin sweeping to the south. The next headed to the southern objective, where they would push north.

USS Philippine Sea Visits Georgia

Guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) pulled into Batumi, Georgia, Oct. 17, and was welcomed by traditional Georgian dancers, local media, and military and civilian leaders.

"This is a great partnership building opportunity for our crew," said Capt. Herbert Hadley, commanding officer of Philippine Sea. "The crew will be given a chance to interact with the host nation on a personal level through military-to-military training courses and community service projects. This is a great way to strengthen the friendship between our countries."

III MEF assesses flooding in Thailand

A humanitarian assistance survey team, consisting of 10 Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force, departed from here for Bangkok, Thailand, to assess the flooded areas and the magnitude of assistance needed Oct. 15.

Significant rainfall from the monsoon season resulted in flooding, affecting 8.2 millon people in 61 of 77 provinces in Thailand. The Thai government made a request to the U.S. government for assistance, and III MEF quickly assembled a HAST, tasking them with a four-day mission to identify key areas, scope and possible duration of subsequent support from U.S. forces.

USS Truxtun Holds First Damage Control Olympics

Guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) held its first Damage Control Olympics competition on the ship's flight deck, Oct. 9.

Sailors from the ship's three repair lockers competed in five competitions, putting their damage control knowledge and skills to the test. The events included a P-100 pump rigging drill, a fire-hose assembly relay race, a pipe-patching competition, fire fighting-ensemble relay race, and rapid plotting drills.

MD-based 29th CAB validates at Hood; ready for deployment

A Maryland-based reserve-component aviation brigade is completing its mobilization training at Fort Hood in preparation of assuming the air mission in Iraq next month.

Soldiers and air crews assigned to the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, Maryland Army National Guard, Task Force Normandy have been completing their post-mobilization training at North Fort Hood since last month. They are scheduled to deploy to Iraq in the next month.

Although the mission in Iraq is drawing down, the brigade has trained for all possible scenarios.

Bringing Special Forces Units together

Video by NATO Channel

31st MEU successfully completes certification exercise

The 31st MEU successfully completed its certification exercise Oct. 16, which certifies that the unit is mission capable for a wide variety of operations.

The certification exercise took place from Oct. 6 to Oct. 16 and encompassed eight complex exercises to include practicing humanitarian aid and disaster relief, non-combatant evacuation, vessel boarding, search and seizure, amphibious raids, and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel.

George Washington Carrier Strike Group Gets Underway

The George Washington Carrier Strike Group departed early from a port visit in Singapore Oct. 15 to be better postured to provide humanitarian aid if needed in the wake of the worst flooding in many years in Thailand.