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NEWS | May 12, 2017

29th ID, Kuwaiti leaders meet to build partnership

By Staff Reports 29th Infantry Division

Brig. Gen. John Epperly, Deputy Commander of Task Force Spartan, recently met with Kuwaiti Major General, Khalid Saleh Al Sabah at the Kuwaiti Land Forces Headquarters here. Air Force Brigadier General David San Clemente, Office of Military Cooperation, joined the two Army officers as they discussed matters of mutual interest including security cooperation, equipment, and upcoming exercises.

“These kinds of visits are very important because Kuwait has been and continues to be a close friend and partner of the United States,” Epperly said. “Our partnership is enduring. The more we train and interact together, the more effective we become as partners. Through these visits, we learn about what is important to them on a regular basis to make sure we are building those relationships that in turn build partner capacity.”

Improving interoperability between the two militaries is of interest to both Epperly and Khalid.

“We have made a lot of progress, particularly in the field of planning operations,” Epperly said. “I always say plans may change, but planning is everything.”

After business adjourned, the three proceeded to the Kuwaiti Land Forces Dining room for lunch. Over a menu of vegetable soup, rice, lamb, and chicken, they discussed less formal issues of the day, such as, challenges of buying suits and the nature of friendly American inter-service rivalries.

Also in attendance was Lt. Col. Mark Giacovelli, Task Force Spartan’s liaison to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense. His work in the position since Task Force Spartan’s arrival has made an impression on the Kuwaiti Forces, particularly in his work ethic and soldier skills. When asked by Epperly of Giacovelli’s performance, Khalid had a very direct answer.

“He is one of us now,” said Khalid. “He came here as an American soldier, and now he is a brother.”

After lunch concluded, handshakes and a salute outside the Kuwaiti Land Force Headquarters signaled the end of the meeting. Another figurative plank had been added to the partnership, bridging the two militaries, leaving it a little stronger than before.

“The hospitality and professionalism of Maj. Gen. Khalid and the Kuwaiti Land Forces is unmatched,” Epperly said. “It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to spend time with him and his team.”

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