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Putin was President and NATO had just expanded, when Russia and the USA did military exercises together in both Germany and Russia. Putin’s buddy George W. Bush was US President.

On 29 March [2004], Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia formally became members of NATO by depositing their instruments of accession with the United States Government.” https://www.nato.int/docu/update/2004/03-march/e0329a.htm

Lt. Col. Kevin M. Volk, exercise division branch chief for U.S. Army Europe’s operations directorate, said the exercise proves the two countries are committed to fostering cooperation, collaboration and improved interoperability.

“They’re able to learn how we think, and likewise we’re able to learn how they think and how they do business,” he said. “It’s a great chance to strengthen our relationship with the Russians.” (2005) Is this why the US has pro-Putin retired military? Notice the German surname. US Army leaders quoted in the articles have German surnames, except one has an apparent Yemeni surname (Balfaqih).

Only in “April 2014, following Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, the Alliance suspended all practical cooperation between NATO and Russia. However, the Alliance agreed to keep channels of communication open in the NRC and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council at the Ambassadorial level and above, to allow the exchange of views, first and foremost on the crisis in Ukraine.” https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_50091.htm This was long after Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia!

The military exercises were when George W. Bush was President. Bush’s family was doing business in the USSR at least as early as 1925. The W. is for Walker and George Herbert Walker, his great-grandfather, was president of W. A. Harriman & Co. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, became VP of Harriman in 1924. On Nov. 28, 1925, the NYT reported that “The Georgian Manganese Company, Ltd., which was formed by W.A. Harriman interests last Summer to develop manganese ore deposits in the Caucasus, has maintained highly satisfactory relations with the Russian Government and is regularly shipping large quantities of ore, it was said yesterday by officials of the company”. Walker was on the board of Georgian Manganese. (See references at end of blog post.)

Bush Sec. of Defense: Rumsfeld and Gates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Gates

U.S. Soldiers Training with Russian Troops in ‘Torgau’
December 10, 2007
By Spc. Joseph McAtee
U.S. and Russian Soldiers in physical training gear cheer on their fellow Soldiers in uniform headed for the finish line of the run and shoot competition that was part of the Dec. 8 “cultural day” activities at Hohenfels, Germany, during this week’s 2007 Torgau exercise.

HEIDELBERG, Germany (Army News Service, Dec. 10, 2007) – U.S. and Russian soldiers are training together this week in an exercise named “Torgau” in remembrance of the place where the two armies first met in Germany during World War II.


Training will take place at Germany’s Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. More than 180 Russian soldiers are expected to take part this year, training with members of the V Corps staff in Grafenwoehr for a command post exercise and with troops from the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment for combined exercises in Hohenfels, Germany. 

One of the first events of the exercise was a 8 “cultural day” Dec. at the Hohenfels Training Area. The event required participants to run two miles, fire M16 rifles on a live range, then run two miles back to the start point. The two-week exercise will also include combined basic infantry skills training and culminate in a combined live-fire exercise.



This year’s exercise is the third since the Torgau “series” began in 2004. Last year’s exercise was cancelled. 

The exercise shows the two countries are committed to fostering cooperation, collaboration and improved interoperability, said Lt. Col. Kevin M. Volk, exercise division branch chief for U.S. Army Europe’s operations directorate.



“They’re able to learn how we think, and likewise we’re able to learn how they think and how they do business,” he said. “It’s a great chance to strengthen our relationship with the Russians. “

That spirit of cooperation is said to date back to April 25, 1945 when V Corps’ 273rd Infantry Regiment was chasing remnants of the German army. When the unit approached the Elbe River in the small town of Torgau, the Soldiers saw something unexpected – men in Soviet uniforms. Troops from the two armies came together to shake hands.

Since 2004, the two armies have commemorated that day in a joint exercise that rekindles the sentiment of camaraderie both armies felt more than 60 years ago.



Maj. Leslie L. Balfaqih, an exercise planner in the USAREUR operations directorate, said fluid interoperability can lead to two goals: positive military and political relations and an increased probability of success if the two countries join to combat a common foe.


“In the event we operate with them, we’re on the same page,” Maj. Balfaqih said.


She explained that the command post exercise in in Grafenwoehr will join the two forces’ staff officers for training on simulated scenarios focusing on four areas: stability, support, transition and reconstruction. At the same time, U.S. and Russian Soldiers will join together at Hohenfels for situational exercises including simulated urban operations and improvised explosive device training, before capping the two-week event with a live-fire exercise. 

Although the U.S.-Russian military relationship is not yet as cultivated as those between the U.S. and its NATO partners, Lt. Col. Volk said, USAREUR officials hope events such as Torgau will help the alliance between the two forces mature.

Planning an international exercise the magnitude of Torgau has not been easy, Lt. Col. Volk explained: the two armies have conducted planning conferences to work out the thousands of “moving pieces” the exercise entails and to try to predict any problems that might crop up.

During the conferences, planners from both sides worked together to organize and coordinate training, logistics, command and control procedures, and even spoken and written translations that ensure any information that comes from one side can be understood by the other.

 In the case of an exercise such as Torgau, planning and execution are further complicated by political sensitivities, Lt. Col. Volk said. 

For example, the most recent conference took place near the end of September in Mulino, Russia. Lt. Col. Volk said the meeting was a historic milestone in its own right, as it marked the first time members of a foreign defense force had been allowed into Mulino. But when these planning forums close, he added, the two militaries communicate any further needs through their respective embassies. The complexity of this inter-embassy communication pushes both sides to resolve the bulk of their issues at the planning conferences, he added.

Lt. Col. Volk said the focus for Torgau each year is on learning valuable lessons that will yield dividends not only for future combined exercises, but for both militaries as a whole.



”The work that we get done together as two military forces sows the seeds for future cooperation between our two countries,” he said.

(Spc. Joseph McAtee writes for the U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office.)https://web.archive.org/web/20150924013755/https://www.army.mil/article/6519/us-soldiers-training-with-russian-troops-in-torgau/ https://www.army.mil/article/6519/us-soldiers-training-with-russian-troops-in-torgau/

‘Torgau’ Exercise Gives U.S. Army Europe Soldiers Unique Opportunity to Build Relationship By Spc. Joseph McAtee, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office
December 14, 2007
HOHENFELS TRAINING AREA, Germany (Dec. 12, 2007) — At the height of the Cold War, the idea of the armies of the U.S. and the Soviet Union training together, discussing operational tactics, or even just fraternizing on a personal level, would have seemed absurd. But today it’s happening here, as U.S. Army Europe and Russian troops come together during the 2007 “Torgau” exercise.

Just days before the 16th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soldiers from the two nations are well into the two-week exercise, an event that is a mix of combined field and command post training and a chance for people and cultures to get better acquainted.
The exercise began with Russian and American Soldiers training together on weapons procedures and vehicle operations in preparation for situational training exercises in the second week of Torgau. But before they began the more intensive warfighting training required by the STX, the two armies enjoyed a “cultural day” of recreation and relaxation that included a basketball tournament, a strength contest, and a “run and shoot” competition.

The basketball tournament pitted teams comprised of a mix of Soldiers from both armies in a daylong competition. The strength contest pushed entrants in weightlifting and pull-up events designed to determine which Soldier could display the greatest physical power. For the run and shoot competition contestants had to run two miles to a range, fire a series of live rounds with M16 rifles, and then run back to the starting point.

Russian Lt. Salim Pashtov, the first contestant to finish the run and shoot event, proclaimed it a great day for him and for both armies. “I am very proud,” he said.

The cultural activities also made it clear the two forces have much in common. Lt. Col. Michael Borg of USAREUR’s Joint Multi-National Readiness Center, the senior trainer for the Torgau exercise, said it was evident the two armies are not that different. “Both sides have been willing and eager to participate,” Borg said. “Cultural day was an absolute success.”

“I think it went very well,” added JMRC’s Maj. Paul Weyrauch, assistant senior exercise trainer for Torgau. He said the cultural day was really about using healthy competition to build bonds between the two groups that would pay dividends in the latter half of the exercise and beyond.

“It achieved what we wanted it to achieve,” the major said.
Weyrauch also said the Americans and Russians were able to meet the training objectives for the first week of the exercise without any major setbacks. “Last week was a great week by design,” he said.

Weyrauch and Borg said they were eager to test the bonds forged on cultural day at the STX lanes, where the two armies would be faced with realistic battlefield scenarios that would determine what level of interoperability the two had achieved up to that point.

“Team building — that’s the one thing I would want to get out of this (exercise),” Borg said.

“Our hope is that (the Russians) have a better understanding of how we operate,” added Weyrauch.

With those goals in mind, Torgau 2007 could well be a benchmark of the post-Cold War era that furthers a cooperative alliance between Russia and the U.S. and enhances the warfighting capacity of both nations.
“We need every man in the fight,” Borg said.
https://www.army.mil/article/6570/torgau_exercise_gives_u_s_army_europe_soldiers_unique_opportunity_to_build_relationship

U.S. Army Europe Soldiers to Train with Russian Troops During ‘Torgau’ Exercise By Spc. Joseph McAtee, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office, December 4, 2007 HEIDELBERG, Germany (Dec. 3, 2007) — April 25, 1945, was a historic day for the Soldiers of V Corps’ 273rd Infantry Regiment, 69th Infantry Division. As they moved deep into eastern Germany, the American troops apprehensively chased remnants of the German army.

Approaching the Elbe River in the small town of Torgau, the Soldiers saw something unexpected – men in Soviet uniforms. As they came together to shake hands, the union of the U.S. and Soviet armies marked the symbolic defeat of Germany’s Third Reich and the victory of the Allied forces.

Since 2004, the two armies have commemorated that historic day in a joint exercise that rekindles the sentiment of cooperation and camaraderie both armies felt more than 60 years ago. The exercise – named Torgau for the place where the two allies met – is a manifestation of both armies’ desire to work together.

Lt. Col. Kevin M. Volk, exercise division branch chief for U.S. Army Europe’s operations directorate, said the exercise proves the two countries are committed to fostering cooperation, collaboration and improved interoperability.

“They’re able to learn how we think, and likewise we’re able to learn how they think and how they do business,” he said. “It’s a great chance to strengthen our relationship with the Russians.”

Maj. Leslie L. Balfaqih, an exercise planner in the USAREUR operations directorate, said fluid interoperability can lead to two goals: positive military and political relations and an increased probability of success if the two countries join to combat a common foe.
“In the event we operate with them, we’re on the same page,” Balfaqih said.

This year’s exercise will be the third since the Torgau “series” began in 2004. Last year’s exercise was cancelled.

Training will take place at Germany’s Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. More than 180 Russian Soldiers are expected to take part this year, training with members of the V Corps staff in Grafenwoehr for a command post exercise and with troops from the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment for combined exercises in Hohenfels, Balfaqih said.

She explained that the command post exercise in Grafenwoehr will join the two forces’ staff officers for training on simulated scenarios focusing on four areas: stability, support, transition and reconstruction. At the same time, U.S. and Russian Soldiers will join together at Hohenfels for situational exercises including simulated urban operations and improvised explosive device training, before capping the two-week event with a live-fire exercise.
Although the U.S.-Russian military relationship is not yet as cultivated as those between the U.S. and its NATO partners, Volk said, USAREUR officials hope events such as Torgau will help the alliance between the two forces mature.

Planning an international exercise the magnitude of Torgau has not been easy, Volk explained: the two armies have conducted planning conferences to work out the thousands of “moving pieces” the exercise entails and to try to predict any problems that might crop up. During the conferences planners from both sides work together to organize and coordinate training, logistics, command and control procedures, and even spoken and written translations that ensure any information that comes from one side can be understood by the other.

In the case of an exercise such as Torgau, planning and execution are further complicated by political sensitivities, Volk said.

For example, the most recent conference took place near the end of September in Mulino, Russia. Volk said the meeting was a historic milestone in its own right, as it marked the first time members of a foreign defense force had been allowed into Mulino. But when these planning forums close, he added, the two militaries communicate any further needs through their respective embassies. The complexity of this inter-embassy communication pushes both sides to resolve the bulk of their issues at the planning conferences, he added.

Volk said the focus for Torgau each year is on learning valuable lessons that will yield dividends not only for future combined exercises, but for both militaries as a whole.

“The work that we get done together as two military forces sows the seeds for future cooperation between our two countries,” he said.https://web.archive.org/web/20220918124927/https://www.army.mil/article/6425/u_s_army_europe_soldiers_to_train_with_russian_troops_during_torgau_exercise

HARRIMAN-SOVIET PARLEY STILL ON; New York Bankers’ Agents in Moscow Discussing Terms of Manganese Concession. BREAKDOWN REPORT DENIED Conferences Involving Ore Deposits Worth Many Millions, Delayed by Technical Details”. May 19, 1925 https://web.archive.org/web/20220916070440/https://www.nytimes.com/1925/05/19/archives/harrimansoviet-parley-still-on-new-york-bankers-agents-in-moscow.html

MANGANESE CO. DENIES CLASHES WITH SOVIET; Harriman Concern Operating in Georgia Expresses Satisfaction With Russian Aid. Nov. 28, 1925 The Georgian Manganese Company, Ltd., which was formed by W.A. Harriman interests last Summer to develop manganese ore deposits in the Caucasus, has maintained highly satisfactory relations with the Russian Government and is regularly shipping large quantities of ore, it was said yesterday by officials of the company”. https://web.archive.org/web/20220918130933/https://www.nytimes.com/1925/11/28/archives/manganese-co-denies-clashes-with-soviet-harriman-concern-operating.html

Prescott Bush: “In 1924, Bush became vice-president of the investment bank A. Harriman & Co. where his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker was president. Bush’s Yale classmates and fellow Bonesmen E. Roland Harriman and Knight Woolley also worked with the company.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prescott_Bush

Russian investments are mentioned, as well: “In 1920, Walker became the President of the W.A. Harriman & Co. investment firm, and quickly arranged the credits that W. Averell Harriman needed to take control of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. Walker also organized the American Ship and Commerce Corp. to be subsidiary of the W.A. Harriman & Co., with contractual power over the affairs of the Hamburg-Amerika. W.A. Harriman & Co. (renamed Harriman Brothers & Company in 1927) well-positioned for this enterprise and rich in assets from their German and Russian business, merged with the British-American investment house Brown Bros. & Co. on January 1, 1931. Walker retired to his own G.H. Walker & Co. This left the Harriman brothers, his son-in-law Prescott Bush and Thatcher M. Brown as senior partners of the new firm of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. The firm’s London branch continued operating under its historic name Brown, Shipley & Co. Walker was a director of the W.A. Harriman & Company; Harriman Fifteen, American International Corporation; Georgian Manganese Corporation; Barnsdall Corporation; American Ship & Commerce Corporation; Union Banking Corporation; G.H. Walker & Company; Missouri Pacific Railroad; Laclede Gas and the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert_Walker


G-8 Summit Germany 07.06.2007 Aperitif auf der Terrasse / Aperitif on the terrace © Press and Information Office of the Federal Government (Germany-DE)/Bergmann
Bush Barroso Merkel Putin Blair

Bush and Putin in 2008, shortly before Putin invaded Georgia (the country).