Suriname Defense Minister, Ambassador visit South Dakota, 114th Fighter Wing

Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander explains the operations inside the 114th Figher Wing Command Post to U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes and Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald. Ambassador Schreiber Hughes and Defense Minister Fernald were in South Dakota as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander explains the operations inside the 114th Figher Wing Command Post to U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes and Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald. Ambassador Schreiber Hughes and Defense Minister Fernald were in South Dakota as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Capt. Joe Hardin, 114th Security Forces commander, demonstrates his marksmanship skills in the Firearms Training Simulator room during a tour by Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes. Defense Minister Fernald and Ambassador Schreiber Hughes were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Capt. Joe Hardin, 114th Security Forces commander, demonstrates his marksmanship skills in the Firearms Training Simulator room during a tour by Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes. Defense Minister Fernald and Ambassador Schreiber Hughes were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander, explains the cockpit of the F-16 Fighter Falcon to Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald here Feb. 25. Defense Minister Ivan Fernald and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander, explains the cockpit of the F-16 Fighter Falcon to Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald here Feb. 25. Defense Minister Ivan Fernald and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Master Sgt. Troy Erlandson, avionics systems repairman with the 114th Fighter Wing, gives U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes and visual tour of the F-16 Fighting Falcon here Feb. 25. Abassador Schreiber Hughes and Defense Minister Ivan Fernald were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

Master Sgt. Troy Erlandson, avionics systems repairman with the 114th Fighter Wing, gives U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes and visual tour of the F-16 Fighting Falcon here Feb. 25. Abassador Schreiber Hughes and Defense Minister Ivan Fernald were in South Dakota for a tour of the state as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

114th Mission Support Group Commander Col. Steve Warren, 114th Fighter Wing Commander Russ Walz, Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald, U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes, and Navy Lt. Commander Waymon Jackson pose next to the tail of an F-16 Fighting Falcon here Feb. 25. Defense Minister Fernald and Ambassador Schreiber Hughes were here touring South Dakota as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

114th Mission Support Group Commander Col. Steve Warren, 114th Fighter Wing Commander Russ Walz, Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernald, U.S. Ambassador Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes, and Navy Lt. Commander Waymon Jackson pose next to the tail of an F-16 Fighting Falcon here Feb. 25. Defense Minister Fernald and Ambassador Schreiber Hughes were here touring South Dakota as part of the Growth through Partnership program.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The 114th Fighter wing hosted the Suriname Minister of Defense and U.S. Ambassador here Feb. 25 as part of the Growth through Partnership program.
Suriname Defense Minister Ivan Fernard and U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes were in South Dakota to meet with key leaders focusing on an exchange between government, community and military leaders.

"With South Dakota and Suriname being so similar, we're both small, but if you look at us as the standard, the test, this partnership is a great pilot for the program," said Ambassador Schreiber Hughes.

The 114th FW hosted the duo with a tour of the base operations building and command post, a windshield tour of the base, demonstrations by 114th Security Forces personnel, and an up-close viewing of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The government of Suriname has recently purchased helicopters for their Air Force. Success will be based on an effective training program and detailed, preventative maintenance.

"The meeting at Joe Foss Field centered on effective training and preventative maintenance," said Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander. "It does not matter if it's a M-16 rifle or the F-16 fighter aircraft, our Airmen's ability to tear down, inspect, repair, reassemble and return to service is based on an effective training program and focuses on mission accomplishment. Just as I am everyday, our Suriname guests were truly impressed."

"It was great to see our friends from Suriname and I'm looking forward to future partnership opportunities," Col. Walz added.

The South Dakota-Suriname State Partnership program was formally established in August, 2006 to develop mutually beneficial partnerships beetween the two entities. The partners were selected based upon similarities in population size, land mass, agricultural-based economies, and lack of significant language barriers.