NATO-led rescue drills involving the air forces of 12 nations kicked off Wednesday in Georgia, which hopes that hosting the maneuvers will improve its chances of joining the Western military alliance.
Several hundred air force personnel from NATO members, including the United States and Germany, and aspiring members, including Georgia and Ukraine, will take part in the 20-day training as part of NATO's Partnership for Peace - a program of cooperation between the alliance and former Soviet militaries.
"We are here to learn from each other," said Col. Kazimierz Dynski, a NATO representative who is directing the exercises, dubbed Cooperative Archer 2007.
Participants will learn to help victims of earthquakes and floods, evacuate people by helicopter and set up a field hospital, said Zaza Gogava, chief of general staff of the Georgian armed forces.
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