SHAH ALAM: Even as the RMAF and PACAF is holding their biennial exercise, another military exercise between Malaysia and the US is about to start. This time around its mostly Army-centric, Keris Strike 2016. Keris Strike is an annual exercise between the Malaysian Army and the US Pacific Command, US Army-units.
Having two simultaneous separate exercises with the US is rare thing. It is not because we are getting chummier with the Americans however (if you see the latest news, we might be distancing ourselves actually). Its mostly down to issues relating to the fasting month of Ramadan and the subsequent Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Aidil Adha holidays.
Cope Taufan was supposed to start in early June but as June 6 marks the start of Ramadan, it had to be pushed back to July 20 and ends on July 29. Keris Strike is usually held in September but as Aidil Adha is to be celebrated on Sept 12, it was apparently pushed forward to July 25 to August 6, at the Sirajuddin Camp in Gemas, Negri Sembilan
For Keris Strike 2016, the exercise will involved units from the 7th Brigade, 3 Division while from the US they will come from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The 7th Brigade is headquartered at the Mahkota Camp in Kluang, Johor.
The key objective of the exercise is to strengthen humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities, according to a press release issued by 3rd Division PR unit.
US soldiers and equipment are already arriving in batches in preparation for the exercise. They and their equipment are being shipped out from the Pasir Gudang port in Johor.
So if you see Humvees and Strykers being driven around Johor and Negri Sembilan for the next one month or so, dont get on the social media claiming the US are invading us or coming to get the Malaysian Number One Official!
Apart from the exercises with the US, Malaysia is also holding an joint exercise with Indonesia – Malindo Latgabma Darsasa 9 AB-2016 from July 21 to Aug 3. The exercise will mostly be held in Tanjung Gelang in Kuantan, Pahang. Some part of the exercise will also be held at Kemaman, Terengganu.
Some 500 Indonesian soldiers and sailors will be involved, 205 from the Army and 105 sailors, mostly those from KRI Banda Acheh landing platform dock. The Indonesian army contingent are mostly from its special forces unit which will conduct exercises with Malaysian armed forces special forces as well.
An Indonesian C-130 Hercules as well two helicopters, a NAS-332 Puma and a Bell 412 EP, will also be involved in the exercise. The 412 is embarked on the Banda Acheh.
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