Shared Accord moves into final preparation stages

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The current increased military activity in Eastern Cape is not a harbinger of danger rather it is another indicator of the South African military’s being accepted as a substantial partner when it comes to combined operations.

The influx of around 5 000 soldiers from 43 SA Brigade and the SA Military Health Services (SAMHS) is in preparation for Exercise Shared Accord, a multi-national peace support and humanitarian exercise, that kicks off on July 24.

SA National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesman for Shared Accord, Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen, said the major aim of the exercise was to provide collective training for the SANDF and the United States Armed Forces.
“Building inter-operability and mutual understanding is the key,” he said.

SANDF elements have been deployed in and around Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, Bhisho and Mthatha since the beginning of this week in preparation for Shared Accord which ends on August 5. Movement of American elements into Eastern Cape will start over the weekend.
43 South African Brigade will co-ordinate the exercise utilising various combat and support units from the SA Army. The SA Air Force’s participation will be mostly virtual with some real-time helicopter support. SA Navy components will be involved in exercises at sea along the southern coast before entering the East London harbour. Naval forces will include a frigate, an offshore patrol vessel, a mine counter measure vessel and elements of the Maritime Reaction Force.

SAMHS support during Shared Accord will entail real-time military health support to own forces deployed at sea and on land. The medical contingent will consist of multi-disciplinary professionals who will join US Forces for the duration of the exercise. This will also be a test of the operational capability of both SAMHS and US Forces in terms of real time military health support.
“In this way SAMHS will operationalise civil and military co-operation in humanitarian support to post conflict health reconstruction by conducting dental and primary health care as well as veterinary services to community livestock. The Americans will also provide optometry evaluations and dispense 10 000 pairs of spectacles,” Theunissen said.



Picture: Eastern Cape residents await medical care during the last Exercise Shared Accord