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Virginia Airmen Conduct Engineer Exchange in Tajikistan

  • Published
  • By Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, conducted an engineer exchange with Republic of Tajikistan military and law enforcement personnel Jan. 22-26.

The exchange in Tajikistan supported the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.

The teams shared best practices, experiences and lessons, focusing on base denial, demolition, building defensive fighting positions and airfield crater repair.  

The Virginia delegation comprised 2nd Lt. Andrew Seitter, Chief Master Sgt. Karl Burnell Jr. and Master Sgt. Justin Edelman. The Tajikistan attendees included combat engineers and members with experience in explosive ordnance disposal and border protection.  

All three Virginia Airmen spoke highly of the experience.

“Overall, the exchange was successful with a lot of interaction between us and our Tajikistani partners,” said Seitter. “We see ways that we both can better our future engineering efforts. The exchange seems to have had a great effect on our partner’s future engineering strategies.” 

“I appreciate the opportunity to support the Virginia National Guard’s partnership with Tajikistan,” said Burnell. “The exchange will no doubt help us prepare for the future of military engineering operations.”

Tajik participants agreed the exchange helped both organizations. 

“We appreciate the knowledge, experience and expertise that the RED HORSE members shared,” said Capt. Amirjon Hojiev. “The experience allowed us to learn from each other and will make us even better engineers in the future.” 

Members of the 203rd conducted a similar exchange in Tajikistan in June. In July, the VNG and Tajikistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of their formal partnership in the State Partnership Program, which began in 1993 and now includes 100 nations. 

The Virginia-Tajikistan relationship has included 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staff, and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.