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U.S., Kuwaitis conduct defensive exercise together

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The 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers and Kuwaiti troops assigned to the 15th Mubarak Brigade conducted Saweyan Shield, a live-fire exercise, at the Udairi Range Complex near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Nov. 28.

Saweyan is the Arabic word for "together" or "unity".

Soldiers from the 15th Mubarak Brigade and the 3rd Armored BCT, 3 ID have been training together for several weeks, beginning with basic skills such as land navigation and first aid, then progressing to more complex skills such as urban operations.

"It is great to have the opportunity to work with them," Capt. Donald Bigham, Company B commander, 1-15 Infantry, said of the Kuwaitis. "They are very experienced soldiers, they are very good tactically, and they have good weapon systems that allow them to do their mission."

The live-fire exercise began with more than a dozen Kuwaiti M-84 tanks and four Bradley Fighting Vehicles in a defensive position. Kuwaiti F-18 Hornets then initiated contact with targets using close air support strikes followed by Kuwaiti AH-64 Apache helicopters providing close combat attacks.

"This is how they fight, this is what they train for," said Maj. Joe Ruzicka, operations officer for 1-15 IN. "What we saw today was that they are truly capable of defending their country if need be."

The main element of the defensive position made a call to Baker Team, consisting of U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M1A2 tanks, and Kuwaiti M-84 tanks, for reinforcement.

Bigham said the greatest part of the exercise was by working together, training and rehearsing as one team, they were able to operate as a single entity to maneuver and destroy the targets effectively.

Baker Team, maintaining spacing and maximizing frontal coverage, moved forward within two kilometers of the targets before laying down suppressive fire. Baker Team then continued to the forward line of troops and eliminated the targets.

Bigham said their partnership with the 15th Mubarak Brigade allowed soldiers on both sides to get to know each other on a more personal level, enabling them to grow tactically with stronger military allies.

Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Third Army/ARCENT commanding general; Maj. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, Third Army/ARCENT deputy commanding general; Col. Johnnie L. Johnson Jr., 3rd ABCT commander, and Staff Col. Bassel Ahmed Al-Suwaidi, 15th Mubarak Brigade commander, were on hand to observe the event.

"When we talk about partnership in the future, this is how I envision it," said Ruzicka.

"Whenever we do a training event here in Kuwait, we should have the Kuwaiti Land Forces here with us and vice versa, so we can really build upon what we have established here and take it to the next step."

Article by Sgt. Christopher Johnston, Army.mil