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Kazakhstani soldiers with the Kazakhstan Peacekeeping Battalion conduct accountability after a simulated chemical attack July 27, 2017, during Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 at Illisky Training Center near Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Sgt. 1st Class Dutch Chapman, 149th Military Engagement Team, Kentucky National Guard, discusses proper sealing techniques for protective gear with Kazakhstani soldier’s after a simulated chemical attack July 27, 2017, during Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 at Illisky Training Center near Almaty, Kazakhstan.
A Kazakhstani soldier with the Kazakhstan Peacekeeping Battalion dons his chemical protection gear while Sgt. 1st Class Dutch Chapman, 149th Military Engagement Team, Kentucky National Guard, checks his protective mask for a proper seal after a simulated chemical attack July 27, 2017, during Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 at Illisky Training Center near Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Sgt. 1st Class Dutch Chapman, 149th Military Engagement Team, Kentucky National Guard, checks a Kazakhstani soldier’s protective mask for a proper seal after a simulated chemical attack July 27, 2017, during Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 at Illisky Training Center near Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Sgt. John Houk, a U.S. Army Soldier with the 86th Combat Support Hospital, works with soldiers and medics with the Kazakhstan Peacekeeping Battalion to treat simulated casualties July 27, 2017, during Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 at Illisky Training Center near Almaty, Kazakhstan.
| Aug. 16, 2017
Kentucky Guardsmen leave lasting mark on Exercise Steppe Eagle
By Capt. Desiree Dillehay,
149th Military Engagement Team
ALMATY, Kazakhstan –
Kentucky Guardsmen with the 149th Military Engagement Team participated in Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 with Kazakhstani, British, Kyrgyzstani, Tajikistani and Turkish partners July 22 - Aug. 4, 2017, at the Illisky Training Center, here, in Kazakhstan.
Steppe Eagle, a premier multinational exercise focused on peacekeeping and peace support operations, provided eight Kentucky Soldiers a chance to build relationships with partner nation militaries and assist as subject matter experts.
At the battalion level and below, the soldiers observed and conducted operations on everything from infantry and chemical defense to logistics, signal and media engagement.
"What an opportunity for Kentucky Guardsmen," said Master Sgt. Richard Harris, 149th MET future operations noncommissioned officer in charge. "The Kazakhstan Peacekeeping Battalion has performed outstanding over the past two weeks. We're honored to be a part of it and very pleased with the progress we made with our partner countries."
Harris additionally represented the U.S. Army during the wreath-laying ceremony at Kazakhstan’s World War II Memorial on culture day alongside the U.S. Army Central Security Cooperation Division director and country desk officer — a testament to how Kentucky Soldiers have served as key ambassadors for the U.S. Army throughout both phases of Steppe Eagle 17.
This was the MET’s second time in Kazakhstan as part of Exercise Steppe Eagle 17. The first time occurred in March and April for phase one, commonly called Koktem, where the MET members participated in a series of information exchanges for similar topics.
This second trip presented an opportunity for the eight Soldiers to reconnect and continue building friendships with the Kazakhstani soldiers they worked with during Koktem.
“There’s a second element to (the exercise), and I think that’s probably a little bit more enjoyable for the soldiers and myself,” said Lt. Col. Kent Cavallini, 149th MET deputy commander. “I really like to build the relationships between our countries at the personal level, which will add on to the higher level objectives.”
Cavallini led the overall U.S. delegation of more than 45 service members from the Kentucky Army National Guard, the Arizona Army National Guard, U.S. Army Central Command and subordinate units during the two-week exercise, and he participated as a mentor at the brigade and battalion staff levels.
The 149th MET’s success at Exercise Steppe Eagle 17 is a strong baseline for the success of future military engagement teams as they continue to build multinational relationships in the years to come.
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