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    California NG and Ukraine; 23 years of partnership

    California NG and Ukraine; 23 years of partnership

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes | California Army National Guard Commander Maj. Gen Lawrence Haskins addresses his...... read more read more

    YAVORIV, Ukraine – The relationship between the California National Guard and Ukraine is only two years younger than modern Ukraine. Their State Partnership Program began in 1993 with some of the original partnerships that were initiated following the collapse of the Soviet Union, explained California Army National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. Lawrence Haskins.

    Haskins was visiting his Soldiers at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, Ukraine where they form the nucleus of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine Headquarters. Currently, they are hosting Exercise Rapid Trident 16, which is a multinational exercise designed to support military cooperation among Ukraine, the U.S., and Allied and partner nations involving about 2,000 military members. However, as Haskins explained, its success today sits on a foundation of 23 years of cooperation.

    “The whole idea initially (of the California SPP) was to develop relationships primarily based on domestic operations and peacekeeping operations,” Haskins said. This was right in the California Guard’s wheelhouse, due to their state mission. Due to their state mission the California Guardsmen consistently deal with floods, fires, and riots, and that made them a perfect fit for the domestic operations in Ukraine, said Haskins.

    The Rapid Trident exercises, originally called Peace Shield, began in 1994 with the intent to help the former Soviet state join NATO, said Haskins.

    “We would assign a unit to work Ukraine and it would be the same unit every year so you would have that continuity built up, so I think that helped develop a level of trust between a former part of the Soviet Union and the West.”

    Since his last visit four years ago Haskins said he could see a vast improvement in the facilities and infrastructure at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, where Rapid Trident 16 is being held. He also noted the increased professionalism of the Ukrainian soldiers.

    In fact the Ukrainian Army has not only improved its traditional forces, but have also established their own National Guard. This force, just two years old, could be seen training side-by-side with their Active component Ukrainian and U.S. counterparts throughout Rapid Trident.

    “We’ve had Soldiers from the California National Guard who have had an opportunity to see the growth in the program and the fact that we’ve actually made a difference,” said Haskins. “Our relationship with Ukraine has made a difference for the California National Guard, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”



    Date Taken: 07.07.2016
    Date Posted: 07.07.2016 10:49
    Story ID: 203287
    Location: UA

    Web Views: 346
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