ZEMUNIK AIR BASE, Croatia — American and coalition forces participating in the multi-national special operations Jackal Stone 2009 exercise gave the commander of U.S. European Command/Supreme Allied Commander Europe a glimpse of what has been transpiring during the three-week training event held throughout the country of Croatia, here Sept. 23.
Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis began his day in Split, climbing aboard an MH-47 Chinook from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and viewed a Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) maritime assault conducted by forces from Lithuania, Croatia, Ukraine and the U.S.
The training, designed to capture enemy vessels and combat terrorism, allowed the admiral to see how the participating forces enhance their capability and improve their interoperability with each other.
From Split, Stavridis flew to Zemunik Air Base where he was greeted by Maj. Gen. Frank J. Kisner, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe and Brig. Gen. Drazen Scuri, deputy commander of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defense, to continue his tour.
He immediately moved to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF), where he was briefed about how a combined and joint special operations center functions in the preliminary stages of a counterinsurgency operation. The staff stressed that although many of the exercise injects instigated direct action mission planning and execution, special focus was placed on the information and communication elements of the counterinsurgency environment.
During his visit to the CJSOTF, the admiral took a moment to speak to the military personnel representing the ten nations participating in the exercise and praised their efforts, emphasizing the need for exercises like Jackal Stone.
"We are stronger together," Stavridis said. "This kind of cooperation and working together is important."
As he departed, he made it clear that security depends on the ability of U.S., allied and partner nations to address risks before they become crises and that Jackal Stone 2009 was key to improving the capability of all participants.