Virginia Guard communication professionals work with Tajikistan Peacekeeping Operations Battalion

Virginia National Guard Soldiers pose with the Chief of Military Cooperation from the U.S. Embassy, members of the Tajik military and their Tajik interpreter at Shamsi Base, Dushanbe, home of the Peacekeeping Operations Battalion. Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard completed a three-week mission to Tajikistan where they helped prepare the Peacekeeping Operations Battalion for a future United Nations mission. (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Gaurd State Partnership Program)

SANDSTON, Va. — Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard completed a three-week mission to Tajikistan Sept. 12, 2012, where they helped prepare the Peacekeeping Operations Battalion for a future United Nations mission. Led by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Edgar Marquis of Headquarters Company, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the team consisted of communications professionals from Company C, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and the Signal Company, 29th Infantry Division.

The Virginia Guard team also worked with the Tajik platoon that participated in the STEPPE EAGLE 2012 in Kazakhstan, a military exercise aimed at the interoperability of international forces. While Tajikistan has sent observers in the past, this is the first time that Tajikistan has sent an actual unit to participate in the exercise.

Through demonstrations, exercises, and engagements the Virginia Guard assisted the Tajiks in improving their communication capabilities, land navigation skills, and overall ability to perform military operations as a unit.

The team also assessed the command and control capabilities of the unit and partnered with the Tajik leadership to identify ways to improve both the technical and tactical capabilities of the unit in order to prepare the Peacekeeping Battalion for future operations and international exercises.