Agile Spirit - A Joint History
by U.S. Army Pfc. Laurie Ellen Schubert
When Agile Spirit started in 2011, there were approximately 350
Marines participating. The exercise was originally designed for
small unit training in the country of Georgia between reserve
Marines and the Georgian Defense Forces.
Now, the annual
exercise is in its eighth iteration and has grown into a joint,
multinational training event with approximately 3,300 participating
service members from across 14 ally and partner nations.
Georgia Army National
Guardsmen with the Monroe-based 178th Military Police
Company conduct ambush training with the Georgia Defense
Force during Agile Spirit 19 (AgS19) at Vaziani Training Area,
Georgia on July 31, 2019. The combined training
opportunities of AgS19 greatly improve interoperability
among participating allies and partners. (U.S. Army National
Guard photo by Spc. Tori Miller)
With U.S. Army Europe co-leading the exercise with the GDF, there
are fewer chances to spot a Marine among the different nations.
However, there is one former Marine and U.S. Army Soldier with
the 178th Military Police Company, Georgia Army National Guard, who
can share his perspective.
Krohn, an MP with the 178th MP Company and former active duty Marine
MP, provided insight into the importance of this exercise based on
his experience with similar Marine-led exercises.
six years as a Marine, Krohn worked on the exercise Koa Moana, a
multinational training exercise involving Australia, East Timor, New
Zealand, New Caledonia and Tonga. He trained other militaries on
military police operations throughout the Pacific region, and now he
is conducting similar training in the Caucasus region.
Krohn’s role during Agile Spirit is as a combat instructor teaching
Quick Reaction Force training.
“I’ll be taking the Georgians
out [to train] and teaching them how to respond to an allied unit
that might be pinned down or under attack, and how to effectively
engage the enemy as a response force,” Krohn said. “My mission here
is to get them on par with the U.S. forces and give them a basic
understanding of how to achieve those missions and how to work in
tandem with us.”
When it comes to comparing the exercises Koa
Moana and Agile Spirit, Krohn says there are many similarities.
“When I was in the Marine Corps and training with these other
countries, we’d say, ‘Hey, let’s build those bonds of friendship,
let’s build those bonds of kinship, let’s show them the way we do
things, and let’s learn the way they do things.’ They could know
something completely different than we do,” Krohn said. “Coming
here, I’ve already seen that same perspective and the benefits of
The mission for Krohn was not only
training, but also building partnerships between individuals, units
and countries. He has brought that same idea into this exercise,
where building partnerships is critical among the 14 ally and
partner nations participating in AgS19.
While some parts of
Agile Spirit have remained the same, other parts have changed since
its inception. Many nations including Bulgaria, France, Romania and
Turkey were only observers of the exercise according to Lance Cpl.
Scott Whiting’s article “Marines, Georgians conclude Agile Spirit
Now, most of those nations are participating in the exercise.