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NEWS | June 1, 2023

Pacific Army Reserve leads multinational ground operations in Oceania

By Pfc. Devin Serrano-Diaz 9th Mission Support Command

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 9th Mission Support Command provide support in mission Croix Du Sud (Southern Cross) in Noumea, New Caledonia, May 6, 2023.

Croix du Sud is a biannually French-led joint/multinational exercise that involves 19 nations coordinating naval, air and ground assets to strengthen capabilities in human assistance, disaster and crisis response efforts to mitigate human suffering while strengthening Alliances and partnerships. This year’s exercise took place from April 24 to May 6 with the United States Army Pacific’s role in Croix du Sud 23 was to provide ground force support to FANC’s primary training audience.

Soldiers of the 9th Mission Support Command worked alongside other nations in the field of public affairs to strengthen outreach in multinational media, which gave the opportunity to strengthen capabilities in humanitarian and crisis efforts, and allowed the participating nations to work in more public matters with Col. Anthony Leyva, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade commander, 9th MSC, as the senior U.S. service member supporting the exercise.

“The 9th Mission Support Command on behalf of USARPAC executed very well and is the most well integrated team in a multinational exercise like this,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Siekman, Commander of the 9th Mission Support Command. “The team did an amazing job and helped strengthen our ties with the French and other allies and partners we have here in the Pacific.”

This exercise was an important opportunity for the U.S. to train alongside its Pacific neighbors as well as strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and France in the region. The participating countries share common interests in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

One of the highlights of the exercise was presented to the U.S. Army soldiers of 322nd Civil Affairs Bde., 9th MSC, alongside their FANC counterpart. These recipients were presented honorary coins by Maj. Gen. Regionald Neal, the deputy commanding general of USARPAC, May 6, 2023. The coins were given to each officer as recognition for their hard work in Civil Affairs in the CDS 2023 exercise.

Another highlight for the 9th MSC was presented to Capt. Matthew Carroll of the 322nd Civil Affairs Bde., 9th MSC, by the FANC Land Component commander of the CDS 2023 exercise in New Caledonia, May 4. The award was a gift of appreciation for Carrol’s participation as an integrated staff member of the ground force operations team along with other foreign partners.

As far as the ground forces of the exercise, the supporting U.S. forces consisted of the Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Logistics Group; and Army Soldiers of the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 11th Airborne Division; 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment; 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment; 322nd CAB; and the 9th MSC; all of whom were integrated with the ground forces of Allies and partners supporting this multilateral humanitarian aid and disaster relief readiness exercise that incorporated real world operations to enhance essential services and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“A motto we use in the 11th Airborne is 'Jump, Fight, Win,' which is what we’d say for being here. Coming from Alaska and being here’s an eye-opening experience and is well appreciated for the 11th,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jamal Latore, battalion noncommissioned officer of 11th Airborne Battalion. ”The ability to even have this partnership at an international level is amazing,” Latore added.

“It is awesome to be here with all the various nations that are coming together to work on our interoperability so we can help those in need throughout the Southwest Pacific Islands,” said Lt. Gen. James Gerrard, deputy commander of United States Army Pacific.

Croix du Sud 2023 was a successful exercise that will ultimately improve future training missions to benefit the region.