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U.S. forces take part in Bright Star multinational exercise

Paratroopers from the 1-325th Airborne Infantry Regiment jump from a C-17 aircraft during a strategic jump as part of Operation Bright Star 2009, a combined exercise including 11 countries and hosted by Egypt. Operation Bright Star is a biennial training exercise that promotes teambuilding and the sharing of expertise in a variety of areas among the participating countries. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

Paratroopers from the 1-325th Airborne Infantry Regiment jump from a C-17 aircraft during a strategic jump as part of Operation Bright Star 2009, a combined exercise including 11 countries and hosted by Egypt. Operation Bright Star is a biennial training exercise that promotes teambuilding and the sharing of expertise in a variety of areas among the participating countries. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

U.S. Marines along with Egyptian and Kuwaiti troops take part in a combined live-fire exercise as part of Bright Star 2009. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Marines along with Egyptian and Kuwaiti troops take part in a combined live-fire exercise as part of Bright Star 2009. (Courtesy photo)

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt -- Airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines from around the world formed a common front in a multi-national military exercise near here in October.

Exercise Bright Star began in 1981 as a biennial training exercise to better relations between Egypt and the United States.

"Bright Star has always been about partnership," said Maj. Gen. Peter M. Vangjel, deputy commanding general of 3rd Army/U.S. Army Central, who participated in the first Bright Star. "It has grown substantially since (1981). We have almost a dozen coalition partners that are here participating in one way, shape, form or fashion. Whether or not they come from the sea, jumping from airplanes, or soldiers on the ground - it's all about partnership."

The exercise opened with a strategic airborne jump of more than 300 U.S. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division partnering with Egyptian, German, Kuwaiti and Pakistani paratroopers. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 U.S. Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit hit Al Amein Beach by amphibious landing with their Bright Star counterparts.

Other training included a combined computer-aided command post exercise. Service people from different countries learned about the equipment and updated tactics of others, thereby developing a better coalition contingency environment.

Air Force reservists from the 701st Combat Operations Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and 710th COS, Langley Air Force Base, Va., formed an air operations center with controllers from other nations for a series of exercises.

Other nations participating in Bright Star 2009 included France, Greece, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service from a U.S. Army Central Public Affairs news release)