LIMA, Peru – West Virginia National Guard senior leaders and members of the State Partnership Program met with Peruvian military leadership Aug. 22-24 to develop a plan for future engagements.
Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, adjutant general; Command Sgt. Maj. Dusty Jones, senior enlisted leader; the SPP team and U.S. Embassy-Peru personnel met with Peruvian military officials to establish priorities for bilateral engagements among the two militaries.
WVNG leaders and John McNamara, deputy chief of missions, U.S. Embassy-Peru, met with Peruvian Army, Air Force, Navy and Joint Command commanding generals, operations officers and other key leaders of the service branches and joint force.
“This visit was a great opportunity to further unite the WVNG and Peruvian military forces as we established opportunities for mutually beneficial engagements for the coming years,” Crane said. “We have such a strong relationship with our partners in Peru, and we are dedicated to assisting them in their endeavors to bolster their humanitarian assistance/disaster response, enlisted leader development, aeromedical and cyber capabilities and any other areas we can to help them grow and prosper militarily.
“The Peruvians are very similar to West Virginians in the values they possess and their willingness to do whatever they can to help the people of Peru when they need them most,” Crane said.
Between the Peruvian Army, Air Force, Navy and Joint Command, a common theme of ensuring the military can provide help to citizens in a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis was a key topic during the visit.
Flooding is a significant concern in Peru, with its mountainous terrain and sometimes unpredictable rain patterns. There is also the potential for catastrophic earthquakes or other natural disasters.
In previous meetings, the WVNG helped establish and build on efforts by the Peruvian military to assist their citizens in a time of need. Such efforts have included subject matter expert training in cyber, aeromedical evacuation, and search and recovery, and sharing lessons learned from disaster response.
West Virginia and Peru have been connected through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 1996. Each year, the two forces conduct about 15 engagements to build capabilities.
The SPP, designed in 1992 to improve and build relations around the globe, now includes 85 partnerships with 93 countries.
In just over 25 years, Peru and West Virginia have partnered for more than 150 interactions, providing insight into regional challenges facing the Andean Ridge, especially in counterinsurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, risk mitigation, disaster response and recovery.