Georgia National Guardsmen departed Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia to convene upon the country of Georgia for the biennial, multinational exercise known as Agile Spirit. The final group of Soldiers arrived in the country on August 19, 2023. Originating in 2011, Agile Spirit had just six partners in 2015 and has made the substantial leap to 21 different NATO countries and allied partners participating in the exercise. This year combines the forces of over 3,500 troops from countries such as Germany, Romania, Great Britain, Belgium, Azerbaijan, and the United States. Approximately twelve hundred combat-credible service members come from the United States alone. Opening ceremonies commenced on August 21, 2023. The brigade-level exercise will feature field training and live-fire demonstrations, as well as various response scenarios to simulate a realistic combat training environment.
Col. John Avera, commander, 122nd Tactical Support Detachment, 78th Troop Command, Georgia Army National Guard, and co-exercise director for Agile Spirit, discussed the main points that he wanted to drive home after the ceremony concluded. “What matters most is two things: collaboration and interoperability. Because of these exercises, we’ve learned to work with each other. After that, it’s more than just operations; it comes down to logistics and how we incorporate communications. We know that we can maneuver ourselves towards a positive outcome. We must operate in the field because when you fight, that’s where you end up. This exercise goes to great lengths of setting up progressions in order to simulate a combat environment. We want these simulations to be as real as they possibly can be,” said Avera.
United States units that are participating include 173rd Brigade (Airborne), 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, 124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, and U.S. Special Forces Command Europe. Critical training for the exercise includes a brigade-level command post exercise with NATO Multinational Division Southeast, a brigade-level field training exercise, and a combined battalion-level joint forcible entry into Turkey featuring the 173rd Brigade (Airborne). The exercise also features unit-level training to include battalion live-fire and field training exercises, combined special forces operations, combined medical and protection training, and other live fire exercises executed throughout multiple locations within the country. The exercise will conclude September 1st.