News: New York National Guard participates in Africa's largest Trade and Air Show outside Pretoria, South Africa
LATHAM, N.Y. - A team from the New York National Guard will be participating in Africa's largest trade and air show in Pretoria South African, Sept. 17-23.
The African Aerospace and Defence Airshow and Defence Exhibition is held every other year in South Africa.
A New York Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III, cargo and troop transport aircraft from the 105th Airlift Wing at Steward Air National Guard Base near Newburgh left for for South Africa on Friday, Sept. 14 after loading on equipment. Other personnel heading for the air show will leave on commercial airliners on Monday.
The eight-man crew transported a M1117 Armored Assault Vehicle with three New York Army National Guard soldiers from the 442 Military Police Company, Jamaica, and five soldiers from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and their M1126 Stryker, an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle. Members of the U.S. Air Force's 818 Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. will travel with the aircraft and provide support for the air show.
The aircraft and Army equipment, along with other American military aircraft and equipment, will be on display for aerospace and defense industries locally and internationally.
"Our participation in the air show demonstrates the strength of the New York and Republic of South Africa state partnership," said Col. Ray Shields, the Director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard. " Taking part in this event will help solidify our relationship with the South African National Defense Force as our soldiers and airmen talk to each other and get to know each other better."
"I'm looking forward to seeing what I can learn from our South African partners," he added.
According to event organizers, this is one of the world's premier aerospace and defense events and holds a prominent position within the aviation and defense calendar.
The show which is held every two years, comprises dynamic vehicle demonstrations, flying and static displays and a world air show from some of the biggest names in aviation and the defense industry, who will demonstrate their latest and greatest aircrafts.
This year marks the first time since 2004 that the air show and exhibition will be hosted at Air Force Base Waterkloof.
Participants will qualify and practice demonstration and display involvement, to ensure safety for personnel and spectators, Sept. 17 and 18, 2012. Sept. 19-21 are allocated to the trade and defense industry only and the weeklong event will culminate with a public air show, Sep. 22-23, 2012.
Aircrews, personnel and equipment will return to the United States on Sept. 24.
"We in the New York National Guard appreciate the opportunity this gives us to learn from our South African counterparts and also offer some of the lessons we've learned operating at home and abroad." said Major General Verle Johnston, the commander of the New York Air National Guard.
Participation in this air show is part of the New York National Guard's ongoing relationship with South Africa.
The State Partnership Program is a National Guard initiative that encourages relationships, enhances international security and builds capacity across all levels of society with developing nations. Each State and territorial National Guard is partnered with the military of a developing friendly nation.
New York's partnership with the Republic of South Africa was initiated in 2003. Since then New York National Guard has been military visitors to South Africa and hosting military and civilian visitors in return. This year marks the fifth time the New York National Guard has attended the air show.