Troops this weekend started deploying for this year’s Exercise Young Eagle. The Department of Defence (DoD) says the public is advised that during the period February 1 to 11 there will be increased presence of military vehicles and troops on national roads as personnel participating in the exercise make their way to a mobilisation centre at Lohatlha to prepare for the exercise.
The first convoy departed from Pretoria yesterday, comprising of force support elements of 43 South African Brigade Headquarters Unit and the Brigade Administrative Area. The second convoy will depart from different South African National Defence Force (SANDF) bases tomorrow.
“The SANDF is conducting a joint annual force preparation exercise in order to integrate the respective combined Arms of Service of the SANDF, namely, the South African Army, South African Air Force and the South African Military Health Service, to be held at the SA Army Combat Training Centre over the period February 12-24,” the DoD said in a statement. The DoD adds the aim of the exercise is to demonstrate South Africa’s “commitment to participation in regional peace support training and achieving improved regional co-operation in the field of peace support operations.”
The annual Young Eagle normally takes place at De Brug, the SA Army’s training range west of Bloemfontein with units conducting offensive operations “to test their capability to function as an integrated combat ready user system.” Young Eagle usually aims at training and exercising the Army’s airborne and air assault forces to enhance its airborne capability and combat readiness.
Until 2008, Young Eagle took place in October of every year. Changes in the Army’s training routine meant the 2009 edition had to be was postponed to February 2010.