How did the joint US-Russian paratrooper drills go?
They went very well, but let me give you some background here: we had 22 Russian soldiers here for about two weeks and we conducted joint training that focused on basic-soldiers skills, it was not counter-terrorism exercises, but it focused on skills that are common for both Russian and United States military. So, some of the training that we executed last two weeks went very well: they did weapons familiarization, medevac operations, mountaineering trainings and airborne operations – jumping in, jumping out airplanes. So the two-country soldiers worked very-very well together, and the Russian soldiers were extremely professional, technically competent and we were very impressed with their performance.
How can you describe the relationships between Russian and American soldiers?
It was both personal and professional. They have spent a lot of time together, the Russian soldiers went to the baseball game, they’ve spent off-duty time together and developed some strong friendships.
How would you rate the level of preparation of Russian troops?
Oh, very well! They came well-trained, well-prepared and highly motivated.
What results would you like to achieve by these drills?
Well, this laid a foundation of basic relationship, the long-term goal of the program is for every year to do kind of an exchange program – next year we, hopefully, will be sending about 20 of our soldiers over the Russia to receive the same type of training. We wanted to establish a very basic relationship and understanding of how the other military operates and I think succeeded in there.