Monday, June 28, 2010

Generals make friendly wager on World Cup match

By Spc. Tarell J. Bilbo
Louisiana National Guard

(6/28/10) -- When the United States took on Ghana in the World Cup over the weekend, two military generals were watching with extra interest.

Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, and Lt. Gen. Peter A. Blay, chief of defence staff for the Ghana Armed Forces, have a friendly wager on who will win.

If the U.S. is victorious, Blay will present Sprynczynatyk with a Ghanaian flag; if Ghana wins, Sprynczynatyk will make the presentation with a U.S. flag.

After four games, Ghana now has two wins, one draw and one loss, while the U.S. has one win, one loss and two draws.

Why does this game in particular catch the attention of the highest-ranking military officer in North Dakota? Since 2004, the state’s Guard has been paired with Ghana through the Department of Defense-sponsored State Partnership Program, which aligns states with partner countries to encourage the development of economic, political and military ties.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Ghana Armed Forces throughout the past six years as we learn from each other and, in turn, improve the way we operate,” Sprynczynatyk said. “I consider Lt. Gen. Blay a good friend and respect him as a strong leader. We couldn’t resist having a little fun as our home countries face off in the World Cup this weekend.”

During the past six years, more than 180 North Dakota Guardsmen, Ghana military members and civilians have taken part in State Partnership Program events and workshops. Blay was most recently in North Dakota in April.

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