101st Airborne Division coming to South Africa for Ex Shared Accord

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Come mid-July there will be American accents aplenty at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in the Northern Cape. The accents will be those of soldiers from the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division who will be in South Africa for the 2017 iteration of Exercise Shared Accord.

This year’s exercise will see the SA Army’s 2 SA Infantry Battalion in action working alongside their American colleagues in a peacekeeping support operation. This is a departure from previous Shared Accord exercises which have concentrated on humanitarian issues and have been staged in the Eastern Cape.

Major Jeremy Passut of US Army Africa said the exercise, starting on 17 July and finishing on 4 August, was an important bilateral training exercise for both the US Army and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
“Experiences in UN peacekeeping operations provide valuable teaching points to participating US personnel while US experience in the global War on Terror allows for sharing of tactics, techniques and procedures that may help South African leaders prepare for possible threats as regards future UN peacekeeping deployments and missions.”

An important component of the exercise is logistics with deployment and re-deployment of both equipment and personnel supporting the training objectives of both American and South African forces. It has not been confirmed at the time of publication but indications are the US military will be using Ex Shared Accord 2017 to evaluate at least some of its logistic capacity in both the airborne and maritime environments. This could see Upington airport in Northern Cape hosting some US Air Force “heavy-lifters”.

Last month a team from the specialist air assault component of the 101st Airborne Division was at Lohathla to conduct site reconnaissance for the exercise.