As Exercise Shared Accord 2011 came to a close, it was marked by a farewell parade of South African and American soldiers at the Eastern Cape Signal Unit Base in Port Elizabeth.
“The exercise was an unbelievable success,” said South African Navy Rear Admiral Hanno Teuteberg, commander of Exercise Shared Accord, addressing the gathered American and South African troops on Tuesday.
“They see us as part of one team and that is something we have become,” said Teuteberg.
“Two professional organizations achieving professional results … you can see the difference they can make when they work together,” said US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Sam Strotman, the task force commander.
Shared Accord seeks to develop South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) and US humanitarian assistance capabilities in crisis situations. US Marine Corps Forces Africa (MARFORAF), a component of US Africa Command, worked with SANDF to organize the event.
More than 600 US service members, composed mainly of Marine Corps Reservists, along with more than 1,100 SANDF troops, took part in this year’s annual Shared Accord. The exercise included military training, a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), a Veterinarian Civic Action Program (VETCAP), a live-fire exercise and a construction project.
The military training involved the 6th South African Infantry Battalion and US Light Armoured Reconnaissance Marines, a reconnaissance group and an Explosive Ordnance team in Grahamstown. Also, various South African Air Force and Navy components conducted exercises along the southern coast.
“The training was excellent,” said Marine Major Randall Parker, Echo Company commander. “The South Africans were great to work with. We played with each others’ strengths.”
“We learned a lot from them,” said Major Parker, adding that he’ll be taking that new knowledge and using it back home.
The MEDCAP treated more than 3,800 people at the Kleinskool Sports Complex from July 23 through July 31. The MEDCAP provided basic health care, dental care, vision evaluations, and medicines.
“This was a unique and tremendous opportunity to demonstrate our joint services capabilities, delivering health care services in a deployed environment,” said Air Force Colonel Eddie Sanchez, MEDCAP commander. “Our joint medical medics performed superbly in an austere and demanding environment serving more than 3,800 South African civilians. We look forward to future exercises to further enhance our readiness in interoperability capacity.”
The VETCAP, which took place in the communities of KwaNobuhle and Allenridge, conducted more than 300 spays and neuters, rabies vaccinations and heartworm medication.
“I couldn’t be more happy. I’m smiling on the inside from ear to ear from how well everything went,” said Army Major Leo Anderson, 949th Medical Detachment (Veterinarian Services) commander.