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Joint Guard Team Prepares for State Partnership Mission

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Victoria Nelson,
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. - Between bouts of misty showers and freezing rain on the flight line at Pease Air National Guard Base, the belly of a C-17 Globemaster III from the 167th Airlift Wing was steadily filled with people and equipment.

Over three cold hours, Soldiers and Airmen from the New Hampshire and West Virginia National Guard loaded all mission-essential equipment needed to support “Granite Falco,” a four-week training exercise with the Cabo Verdean Armed Forces beginning March 18.

“This was an incredible opportunity for us,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas Rossetti, an HH-60M Black Hawk pilot with the 238th Medevac Company. “Being able to support the State Partnership Program, learning from the Airmen at the 157th, who have a wealth of knowledge, and getting all of our Soldiers valuable hands-on training has been so rewarding, and it’s just the beginning.”

The team spent three days at Pease ANGB in Newington, New Hampshire, folding the aircraft blades, palletizing gear, completing a joint inspection and loading the equipment onto the C-17.

Rossetti and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Norton, noncomissioned officer in charge of the air transportation function with the 157th Logistics Readiness Squadron, said the exercise was crucial for deployment cycle preparation and becoming accustomed to working in joint environments.

“We would normally have to fly somewhere for a joint opportunity like this,” said Norton. “This mission gives our newer Airmen a chance to touch C-17s and complete a huge variety of real-world training while working alongside the Army, and that was really exciting.”

The aeromedical evacuation company traveled from the United States to Mindelo, Cabo Verde, for Exercise Granite Falco. There, they will conduct simulated flying missions in two Black Hawk helicopters and provide basic medical training to Cabo Verdean military personnel and first responders.

The New Hampshire National Guard and Cabo Verde have been partners in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2021. 

“The exercise gives our Soldiers an exciting training opportunity while being able to support our State Partnership Program and the military and government of Cabo Verde,” said U.S. Army Maj. Braden Hunter, commander of the 238th. “We look forward to working with and learning from our Cabo Verdean allies.”

The joint group safely packed two Black Hawks, one Humvee, eight tri-wall containers and other critical equipment for the overseas journey.

“This is a dynamic mission,” said Rossetti. “We’ve been lucky to have the support of our leaders, the support of our partners in Cabo Verde, of the West Virginia Air Guard and the Airmen at the 157th. It wouldn’t be possible without the whole team.”