(Alexandria, Va., October 14, 2009) -- Military units from around the world formed a common front to begin a multi-national military exercise near the Egyptian coastal town of Alexandria, Monday.
Operation Bright Star began nearly 30 years ago as a friendly training exercise to better relations between Egypt and the United States, and has matured into an 11- nation combined exercise, a major joining together of traditional military tactics with modern military technology.
"Bright Star has always been about partnership; it started back in 1981," said Maj. Gen. Peter M. Vangjel, deputy commanding general of Third Army/U.S. Army Central.
"As a matter of fact, I was a part of Bright Star back in '81, the very first one, which really started out as a biennial exercise between the U.S. and Egypt," Vangjel said.
"But it has grown substantially since then, and we have almost a dozen coalition partners that are here participating in one way, shape, form or fashion. Whether or not they come from the sea, jumping from airplanes, or Soldiers on the ground -- it's all about partnership."
This week's Bright Star operation included a strategic airborne jump of more than 300 Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division partnering with Egyptian, German, Kuwait, and Pakistani paratroopers, while more than 1,000 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit rolled onto Al Amein Beach by amphibious landing with their Bright Star counterparts.
More non-traditional training is scheduled in the coming days and will include a combined computer aided command post exercise introducing partnering Soldiers to each others' equipment and updated tactics, thereby developing a better coalition contingency environment, Third Army officials said.
Operation Bright Star, they said, is essential to international team building and will positively affect world and regional military response.