BUJANOVAC, Serbia -- The Marines of 4th Law Enforcement Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, joined 3rd Civil Affairs Group, FHG, MARFORRES, and six other partner nations for the opening ceremony of exercise Platinum Wolf 2016 at South Base in Bujanovac, Serbia, May 9, 2016. The opening ceremony has brought together service members from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia and the United States to train in the use of non-lethal weapons capabilities and build lasting partnerships.
The ceremony marked the start of the training period for the partner nations and allowed each of the nations to be welcomed and thanked for their participation by Col. Sladjan Stamenkovic, executive director of the participating Serbian Armed Forces.
“We had an initial formation and opening ceremony for all of the nations represented, both the U.S. and six Balkan partner nations were here,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Stinson, platoon commander, 4th LE Bn., FHG, MARFORRES. “The Serbian commander welcomed us and gave his opening remarks.”
The opening remarks included the goals of the exercise and the aim which is to increase interoperability and promote ways to ensure peace operations function smoothly.
“We are doing joint peacekeeping operations training,” said Stinson. “Serbia contributes to the U.N.’s peacekeeping force, so we are envisioning training that would be both humanitarian operations and also those level two level three block war operations. Specifically what the Marines are bringing is a lot of non-lethal weapons experience and crowd control experience to emphasize those other than lethal means to keeping the peace and promote stability.”
Over the next two weeks the nations will build relationships and work to hone their skills in multiple small unit tactics, techniques and procedures. The training will focus on peacekeeping operations including non-lethal weapons training and humanitarian operations.The exercise will conclude following the completion of a culminating field exercise.