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West Virginia Guard, 12th Air Force, Peru Sign Pact

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle,
  • 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The West Virginia National Guard, the Peruvian Air Force and the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) signed a trilateral cooperation agreement June 9 during a ceremony hosted by the 167th Airlift Wing.

The 12th Air Force serves as the Air Force component to the U.S. Southern Command and conducts security cooperation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The West Virginia Air National Guard has a longstanding partnership with Peruvian forces through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.

Lt. Gen. Carlos Chavez, the Peruvian Air Force chief of staff, emphasized the significance of the West Virginia partnership during the ceremony.

“It’s been a real pleasure for the Peruvian Air Force to be here this week working together, in order to succeed, in order to grow and improve our capabilities together,” Chavez said.

Over three days of talks, about 40 representatives from the three entities planned nearly 60 future engagements, including air operations and maintenance, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, noncommissioned officer development, women in peacekeeping and security initiatives, and space and communications operations.

Dave Delmonaco, representing the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), noted that the youngest of Airmen can influence activities and engagements of the State Partnership Program.

“The beauty is that anyone in this audience could have that next idea that’s going to bring us together for an engagement that’s going to work at the strategic level and is going to elevate what we do that affects both Peru and the United States Air Force,” Delmonaco said.

In addition to participating in staff discussions, members of the Peruvian Air Force took orientation flights on a West Virginia National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and a C-17 Globemaster aircraft. The trip culminated in meetings with officials at the Pentagon.

Brig. Gen. David Cochran, West Virginia National Guard assistant adjutant general and commander of the West Virginia Air National Guard, said the state is proud to have Peru as a longstanding partner and praised the growth of the relationship between the West Virginia National Guard and Peru.

“It’s not just a state partnership; it’s multi-agency. It’s a whole-of-government partnership that we help facilitate with our West Virginia National Guard resources and our military cooperation with Peru,” Cochran said.

The West Virginia National Guard and Peru have partnered through the State Partnership Program since 1996. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the WVNG and Peru have completed 31 engagements together. Most recently, the WVNG participated in the Peru-hosted international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise Cooperacion IX.

The 30-year SPP program began in 1993 and now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations.