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U.S., Pakistan partner for Inspired Gambit 15 exercise

By By Maj. Angel Jackson, U.S. Army Central

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HOPKINS, S.C. (Sept. 25, 2015) – U.S. Army Central and members of the South Carolina Army National Guard hosted Pakistan Army soldiers during exercise Inspired Gambit 15, Sep. 14-24, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C.

Inspired Gambit is a USARCENT-led, bilateral exercise with Pakistan focused on tasks associated with and aviation support to counterinsurgency operations. Included in the exercise were engineer, explosive ordinance disposal, and public affairs information exchanges.

Brig. Gen. R.Van McCarty, assistant adjutant general of the South Carolina Army National Guard, discussed the need to train on complex operational systems during the exercise.

“We need to find ways to train, take the initiative, and, where we can have partners involved, we need to do so because that’s where we build the future,” said McCarty.

Military-to-military exercises like Inspired Gambit 15 serve as a training opportunity to strengthen tactical proficiency in critical mission areas and support long-term regional stability. Inspired Gambit also helped strengthen relationships between the U.S. and Pakistan militaries, and contribute to mutual readiness.

“In the aviation community, a lot of your tactics, techniques and procedures are very similar, but there are differences,” said Col. David Wilson, USARCENT International Military Affairs division chief. “It’s exercises like this that help to identify those differences so that we can get back to common understanding.”

Brig. Gen. Nasir Saleem Akhtar, Pakistan’s 303rd Aviation Group commander, said the integrated planning process by Pakistan and the U.S. was the mainstay of the exercise. He added that the smooth and rapid transition of both staffs was encouraging and aided their mutual learning.

“The fact that it all transpired in an atmosphere of great trust and friendship really emerges as the heart of this exercise,” said Akhtar. “I sincerely hope that the understanding, confidence, and friendship developed in the course of the exercise shall go a long way in fostering mutual ties between both the countries to have common interests in building peace and stability worldwide in general, and in South Asia in particular.”

USARCENT regularly participates in multiple bilateral and multilateral partnership events throughout the year, including more than 50 exercises in the Middle East region alone. USARCENT has been resident in Central Asia and the Middle East for more than 20 years. With forward headquarters in Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan, USARCENT provides the strategic land power that prevents conflict, shapes the environment and, when necessary, wins the Nation’s wars.