The 31st Georgian Light Infantry Battalion Deployment Ceremony (September 28)

The 31st Georgian Light Infantry Battalion Deployment Ceremony. Photo: State Dept

The 31st Georgian Light Infantry Battalion Deployment Ceremony (September 28)

On September 28, Ambassador Ian Kelly delivered remarks to the soldiers of the 31st Battalion and to the Marines and Sailors of the Georgia Liaison Team prior to their deployment to Afghanistan in support of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.   The United States is deeply grateful for Georgia’s sustained support for this mission.

Ambassador Kelly’s Speech at the Deployment Ceremony

You should all be proud of what you and the country of Georgia are doing to advance and safeguard peace around the globe.

Today, we send off Georgia’s sixth deployment of soldiers to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.  This deployment represents the 20th battalion that Georgia has trained and deployed to Afghanistan since 2009.  We are in your debt for being ambassadors for peace so far from your families.  We will never take your service for granted.

As Vice President Pence said when he visited in August, “We are with you.  The United States stands with the nation and people of Georgia – and we will stand with you as you pursue membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  And the United States of America stands with Georgia in defense of the timeless values that unite us – freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.”

Having served alongside Georgia in Afghanistan over the last eight years, the United States is in the best position to know of the bravery, sacrifice, and reliability of Georgia’s soldiers on the battle field.

More than 15,000 Georgian warriors — men and women alike — have deployed to Afghanistan in support of NATO’s ISAF and RSM missions.

The valor, sacrifice, and honor of our fallen brothers-in-arms continue to leave a lasting mark on all.  You are making the world safer for generations now and generations to come.  We are in your debt.

It is with sincere admiration for the country of Georgia and the love you all share for your beautiful homeland that I wish you God’s speed during your deployment and a safe return home to your families.