Eastern Cape will host this year’s Exercise Shared Accord, a joint multi-national peace support operation and humanitarian relief exercise between South Africa and the United States.
Late July to mid-August has been set aside for the exercise that will be held in Eastern Cape for the second time in three years.
The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) hosts the exercise that will unfold in the coastal areas of the Nelson Mandela Metropolis and East London as well as the inland areas of Grahamstown, Bulembo and Bisho.
The aim of Shared Accord is to provide collective training for the SANDF and the US Armed Forces, building inter-operability and mutual understanding, SANDF exercise senior communication officer Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen said.
43 SA Brigade will co-ordinate the exercise with SA Army fighting formations including infantry, airborne and armour as well as support elements such as engineers, intelligence and signals all involved.
SA Air Force (SAAF) participation will be mostly virtual with some real-time helicopter support. SA Navy (SAN) components will be involved in exercises at sea along the southern coast before entering East London harbour. Naval forces will include a frigate, an offshore patrol vessel; a mine counter measures vessel and Maritime Reaction Force elements.
The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) support concept will entail world-class real time military health support to own forces deployed at sea and on land for the exercise. Military medics will be integrated in multi-professional teams in conjunction with US Forces for the duration of the exercise. This measure will test the operational capability of both components in terms of real time military health support.
In this way SAMHS will operationalise civil and military co-operation in humanitarian support for post conflict health reconstruction by conducting dental and primary health care as well as veterinary services to community livestock. US forces will provide optometry evaluations and dispense 10 000 pairs of glasses.
SAMHS will also ensure effective networking with the Department of Health, local government and non-government organisations (NGOs) during the humanitarian civil activity section of Shared Accord. The department will provide TB testing services.
This part of the exercise will also enhance co-operation between US Forces medical personnel and their South African counterparts Theunissen said.