Friday, August 22, 2014

152nd AW hosts Kingdom of Tonga military members

by Master Sgt. Paula Macomber
152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2014 - RENO, Nev. -- In an effort to build global relationships, the Nevada National Guard's State Partnership Program with the Kingdom of Tonga brought members of the Tongan military to the 152nd Airlift Wing here Aug. 20.

The 152nd AW opened thier doors to the Kingdom of Tonga's military leaders to include Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava.

'Uta'atu, Lord Ve'ehala and Kava received a capabilities brief by several members of the 152nd AW and were given a base tour.

The tour began with a brief look at a Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, to include the flight deck; a tour of the 152nd Maintenance Squadron hangar and an airplane undergoing an isochronal inspection; a visit to the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron's "Leed Silver" certified firehouse. The tour group then went on a walking tour of some Nevada Counterdrug equipment and a tent containing equipment from the Nevada Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package unit.

The Counterdrug and CERFP stops were followed by a look at the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's vehicle maintenance building. The tour concluded at the 152nd Security Forces Squadron's Modular Containerized Small Arms Training Set, a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range.

"Can we take this back to Tonga?" was 'Uta'atu's question after he was able to shoot an M-9 pistol with simulated rounds in the MCSATS simulator.

After the tour, 'Uta'atu, Lord Ve'ehala and Kava received tokens of appreciation, given by Air Force Col. Karl Stark, 152nd AW commander.

"Today's visit by the Tongan delegation symbolized the first step in a prosperous relationship by showcasing some of the unique capabilities that the 152nd Airlift Wing has to offer as well as discussing how those capabilities could possibly enhance future engagements," Stark said. "Today's visit left me with a pure sense of excitement and curiosity of what is in the realm of possibility for both parties to garner from our new partnership."

The Tongan delegates have been in the Reno area since Aug.16 touring various Nevada National Guard facilities and civilian businesses. They will travel on Aug. 21 to Chicago, Illinois, to attend the National Guard Association of the United States conference and trade show and meet with members of the National Guard Bureau before they head back to the Kingdom of Tonga on Aug. 26.

Through the SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.

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