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U.S. Soldiers Train in Kuwait

November 19, 1998

KUWAIT (AP) _ About 90 U.S. Army special forces soldiers made parachute jumps from two Blackhawk helicopters today as part of an exercise aimed at maintaining combat skills.

The jumps, conducted in the desert near Ali al-Salem Air Base, went without a hitch, Maj. John Bullion, company commander, told reporters.

He said the exercise Iris Gold, by soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Campbell, Ky., had nothing to do with the latest tension between Iraq and the United Nations.

Iris Gold started a month ago and was scheduled to continue for two more months, Bullion said.

The exercise also is aimed at improving the fighting capabilities of Kuwaiti forces in the use of light and heavy weapons, desert navigation, medical training, air support, mounted operations and communication.

``There is nothing like training in the area where you might get involved in combat,″ he said.

Kuwaiti and U.S. forces have been training together since after the 1991 Persian Gulf War liberated the oil-rich state from a seven-month Iraqi occupation.

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