Exercise Keris Strike begins together with Australia for first time

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Malaysian and American soldiers launched Exercise Keris Strike in Sabah on June 28 in Kota Belud, Sabah. Keris Strike is a bilateral exercise held annually between the Malaysian Army and the US Army and will go on until July 12.

Keris Strike would involve units from the Sabah-based Army 5th Infantry Division, the US Army Pacific Command’s (USARPAC) 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii along with supporting elements from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

The bilateral exercise would involve 2,850 Malaysian troops, 690 US Army soldiers as well as 130 Australian personnel from the Butterworth-based Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) for the first time ever.

Commander of the 5th Div, Maj Gen Malek Razak Sulaiman said that the exercise would give Army units in East Malaysia an opportunity to share their experiences and expertise with partner forces.

“Previously, the opportunity was given to units in West Malaysia, so this is our chance here in East Malaysia to test our readiness through this platform to ensure we are prepared to face various threats.” he further added that the exercise highlighted the close ties between the Malaysian, Australian and American forces, especially with Australian support of Malaysia since World War II and the Malayan Emergency.

USARPAC Deputy Commanding General of Operations, Brig Gen Kevin Williams said, “We hope to work on the training and readiness together, definitely (it’s) historic but most importantly, the inter-operability of working together because this will allow us to learn, train and grow together. This partnership is a shining example across the Pacific of how to do it right, so we are very happy to be here. “

In the meantime, Australian Defence Attache to Malaysia, Col Corey Shillabeer also said that Keris Strike would be vital to deeping the long-established relationship while simultaneously learning from one another.-shp/adj/dl (Pix:US Army)