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Kenyan Air Force Leaders Visit Massachusetts National Guard Leaders

Barnes Air National Guard Base -- Leaders from the Kenyan Air Force had their initial visit to Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Massachusetts, October 15, 2016. Together with leadership from the 104th Fighter Wing and the 226th Division Army National Guard Aviation Support Battalion, they eagerly began to discuss the State Partnership Program (SPP) with each other.

"We can all learn from each other," said Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Director of the Air National Guard. "We are all leaders dealing with similar issues and huge responsibilities; use our Wing and expertise to help you and we will definitely use your expertise and knowledge to help us."

The Massachusetts National Guard and the Republic of Kenya signed a state partnership agreement, October 1, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya.

"We couldn't be more proud to be partnering with the Republic of Kenya," said Rice. "Our service members will provide mutual benefits to this strategic partnership with the Republic of Kenya. We are excited to exchange ideas and share knowledge to foster an enduring partnership." (as reported on October 5, 2015, Massachusetts National Guard website)

The Kenyan delegation toured the Air National Guard Base and the Army National Guard facility where they participated in briefings, learned more about each others capabilities and discussed their training needs with each other.

The Kenyan delegation wanted to see what capabilities the Massachusetts Guard could bring to them. They discussed needs in areas of mission sets, training for air crew and pilots and needing peacetime and hostile rescue training
They ate lunch at the dining facility, observed training on land navigation, and met with subject matter experts from various career fields.

"The purpose of this visit was to follow up on the senior level engagements that took place in the last year, and to start developing executable training programs and connections between the two countries," said Col. Russel Armstrong, US Embassy Air Force Attaché.

Leadership from the Air and Army National Guard discussed State and Federal missions, construction, economic impacts and future planning. Lt. Gen. Rice felt it was important for the Kenyan delegation to observe this because they are able to learn from some of the problems we are facing and how we resolve them.

The State Partnership Program promotes long-term, enduring and mutually beneficial security relationships with friendly and allied nations around the globe. SPP matches a National Guard state with a foreign partner country to exchange military skills and experience, share defense knowledge, and enhance partnership capacity and further mutual security cooperation.

Kenya is Massachusetts' second state partner. The commonwealth formalized a partnership with Paraguay in 2001.