Delaware National Guard partners with Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force

Members of the Delaware National Guard are welcomed at Piarco Airport

A delegation of approximately 30 Soldiers and Airmen from the Delaware National Guard travel to Trinidad and Tobago the week of August 7 – 13 to partner with the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF) on multiple joint projects and professional development exercises. The Delaware National Guard and TTDF formalized a relationship in 2005 under the Guard’s State Partnership Program and have been conducting exchanges over the past 11 years.  This event will be the largest exchange and will be the first time the Delaware National Guard will conduct a deployment of this size for training in Trinidad and Tobago.

The State Partnership Program is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored program, which links a State’s National Guard unit with a partner nation’s military or security forces in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. The program provides opportunities for joint training and subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) on a variety of topics. They span critical capabilities from cyber security and counter drug operations to personnel issues such as professional development, language, and cultural immersion.

According to Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, Delaware’s Commanding General, “The benefits we reap from the program are immeasurable and we could not be more proud to have the great people of Trinidad and Tobago as our partners. Transporting Delaware National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on one of our own C-130s to conduct multiple exchanges with our partners in Trinidad has been my dream since the inception of the program.”

In addition to senior Guard leaders visiting the top leaders of the TTDF, the Delaware National Guard will have engineers, aviators, medics, security forces, and military police partnering with TTDF personnel in information exchanges, renovation projects, and training. Specifically, Delaware and TTDF engineers will renovate a school, aviators will share flight safety practices, medics will conduct a combat lifesaver course, and military police will hone their skills in a series of joint training exercises. Lt. Col. Jason Brugman, Coordinator of the Delaware State Partnership Program, stated: “This program forges durable and productive relationships between the individual states and the partner nations, contributing to wider national and regional security cooperation goals.”

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