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The Naples, Italy-based NATO Allied Joint Force Command headquarters is leading a battalion of German soldiers to Kosovo as part of an operational rehearsal called Determined Effort 2006.

The deployment began March 16 and the rehearsal will continue throughout the year. The German operational reserve force battalion will be in Kosovo through May 5.

The deployment is designed to ensure that NATO forces are prepared to respond to any crisis in the Balkans, according to the organization’s press release. It is also supposed to demonstrate that NATO can reinforce units in the region with its reserve forces.

Units deployed during Determined Effort will conduct various missions and become familiarized with the area.

USS Carr makes port visit at Cape VerdeThe Navy frigate USS Carr made a port visit to Cape Verde recently, its second to the West African nation in the past two months.

The ship is operating with the Sardinia-based submarine tender USS Emory S. Land in support of the U.S. European Command’s theater security cooperation project to develop partner nations and promote regional stability.

More than 30 Carr sailors joined with 10 Cape Verde soldiers in two community relations projects at the Escola de Salamansa elementary school on the island of São Vicente.

Cape Verde is made up of about a dozen islands and is about 400 miles west of Senegal in the north Atlantic Ocean. Carr is on a six-month deployment from its Norfolk homeport and earlier this year visited Monrovia, Liberia, with USS Mount Whitney during the nation’s presidential inauguration.

Bonus bump aims to lure Marines to reserveCongress has raised a bonus to entice active-duty junior Marine Corps officers to join the Marine Corps Reserve from $6,000 to $10,000, officials said.

In another change, servicemembers who were previously enlisted in the reserve components of any branch of the service will now be eligible for the bonus.

Last year, servicemembers with prior reserve experience were excluded from the bonus program.

Started last year, the program offers the bonus to officers ranging from second lieutenant to captain for a three-year commitment in the Marine Corps Reserve, said Col. John A. Nicholson, who is in charge of the bonus program.

The program has netted 28 junior officers in its first year and has a target of attracting between 23 and 25 officers this year, Nicholson said.

He explained that the Marines can afford to give out fewer bonuses at the increased amount.

MARADMIN 113/06, which can be found at, has further information about how to apply for the bonus.

Air Force seeks officers for specialist programARLINGTON, Va. — The Air Force is looking for 117 midcareer officers to fill openings in the International Affairs Specialist program.

The IAS program, which is entering its second year of competitive selection, provides the Air Force with officers who are experts in one of two areas: regional affairs strategy or political-military affairs strategy.

Air Force officials are looking for 42 officers with seven to 10 years of commissioned service to enter the regional affairs career path, and 75 officers with 10 to 12 years of commissioned service for the political-military specialist area.

Selected officers will receive advanced education, language training and cultural immersion to prepare them for the positions they will fill hold in the field, Air Force officials said.

The program is open to all officers except those in the medical, chaplain and judge advocate career fields.

For more information on the IAS program, log on to and enter IAS in the “search” box.

The site is open to Air Force personnel only and requires a password.

Philippine judge sets arraignment for MarinesMANILA, Philippines — A Philippine judge on Wednesday scheduled the arraignment of four U.S. Marines accused of raping a Filipino woman for next week, and a lawyer for the main defendant said his client was ready for trial.

“I just don’t want to waste time,” said Judge Renato Dilag of the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo city, northwest of Manila.

Dilag said he will ask the alleged victim to be present at the March 24 arraignment, but would go ahead with the proceedings even if she does not attend.

Prosecutors allege that one of the Marines, Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, raped the 22-year-old woman on Nov. 1 inside a van at the former U.S. Naval base at Subic Bay as three fellow Marines cheered him on.

Marines in Afghanistan seize explosivesMarines seized 400 pounds of explosives during a series of searches and patrols in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

During the operation, the Marines “engaged enemy forces attempting to mount an attack from nearby hills,” according to a U.S. military press release.

“Coalition forces counterattacked with artillery and close- air support, driving the enemy off the mountain,” the release says.

There was no information on casualties for either side.

Marines discovered the munitions and fuses in an area where a roadside bomb killed four servicemembers on Sunday.

The Marines are part of Task Force Spartan, which assumed responsibility for military operations in Regional Command East from Task Force Devil at a March 3 ceremony.

Task Force Spartan is made up of members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division; 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment; and other forces.

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