The aim of the exercise, hosted by the 11th Infantry Battalion of the 1st Army Brigade, is to enhance the interoperability and mutual understanding of members of the armed forces of the participating countries at the tactical level during peace support operations in a multinational environment.
After the presentation, the participants were addressed by Brigadier General Zoran Nasković, Commander of the First Army Brigade, who said that the building and keeping peace and security in the world is the primary goal of United Nations peace missions and as such it is a difficult, honourable and responsible task and a serious professional challenge for all who participate in the preparation of units.
– The experience and knowledge we acquire in these exercises are significant and very valuable. The exchange of experience from peacekeeping operations and knowing each other, as well as joint practising of techniques and procedures contribute, in addition to knowledge, to the strengthening of confidence among the armed forces of our countries. Performance of tasks in a multinational environment is a challenge, particularly when they are performed in order to establish and maintain peace – General Nasković emphasised.
He said that competence, equipping, compatibility, as well as cooperation, confidence and mutual respect were equally valid for achievement of the objectives of the mission, adding that it is undoubtedly that joint work during such exercises creates conditions for the successful execution of the mission.
Commander of the 5th Infantry Brigade ‘István Bocskai’ of the Hungarian Defence Forces, Colonel Solsar Balás congratulated him for the successful exercise, saying that he saw the difference only in uniforms, and that the tactics, procedures and professionalism of all participants were the same. According to him, this year's exercise Neighbours will serve as preparation for the UN mission in which the Hungarian Defence Forces will participate next year.
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Woodruff, Commander of the 37th Brigade of the Ohio National Guard, sees the exercise as a good opportunity to learn something new and develop good relationships and teamwork. He particularly emphasises the development of the ability to work together in the fight against enemies.
General Milan Mojsilović, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, presented awards to the best participants in the exercise Neighbours 2019 to Private 1st Class Gabor Szabo from the Hungarian Defence Forces, Private Simon Austin of the Ohio National Guard and Private Vladan Garčević, the member of the Serbian Armed Forces.
Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Serbia, Kurt Donnelly and Hungarian Defence Attaché Lt. Col. Gábor Makács also attended the Distinguished Visitors Day.
The tactical exercise “Neighbours” has been traditionally conducted since 2011, alternately in Serbia and Hungary, as a bilateral exercise for the purpose of preparations for the participation in multinational operations and enhancement of cooperation. Since 2017, members of the Ohio National Guard participate in the exercise, which makes the exercise trilateral.