MEDCEUR 2011 kicks off in Macedonia Published June 6, 2011 By Capt. Martha L. Petersante Headquarters, United Air Forces in Europe CAMP PEPELISHTE, Macedonia -- Members from seven multi-national forces gathered in Macedonia to kick off the 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe, or MEDCEUR 11, June 6. MEDCEUR, an annual, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise, is held in the spirit of NATO's Partnership for Peace. This exercise is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. Col. Andreja Naumovski, Macedonian co-director of MEDCEUR 11, said that today's [opening ceremony] aims, in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace initiative, to improve the medical response capabilities of the region but also enhance partnerships between the participating nations. Working alongside members from the host country of Macedonia are forces from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Norway will join members from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Army Europe and Marine Forces Europe to train and validate the medical readiness status of the expeditionary medical support system to support humanitarian assistance, disaster response and foreign consequence management functional plans. Col. Charles Tedder, MEDCEUR co-director and 3rd Air Force command surgeon, also said, "this exercise is the culmination of more than one year of planning and preparation. "MEDCUER provides all of us a great opportunity to build partnerships, make friends and prepare us to face contingencies, natural or man-made, by developing interoperability with our partners." Interoperability is a key factor to the success of this exercise. The three NATO countries participating in MEDCEUR 2011 are working with Partnership for Peace countries who are working towards entry into the military alliance. Gen. Maj. Naser Sejdini, deputy chief of the general staff for the army of the Republic of Macedonia, welcomed all exercise participants to Macedonia and during his opening remarks, stressed that this is an important opportunity for those involved to validate their processes and interoperability. The exercise will include both classroom and hands-on training and run until June 15.