Suriname delegation visits 114th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Trisha Smeenk
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
National and military leaders from Suriname toured the 114th Fighter Wing as part of the South Dakota-Suriname State Partnership Program, June 16.
The Suriname Minister of Defense, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname, Chief of Armed Forces in Suriname, and their military liaison officer were all in attendance. Suriname leaders visited South Dakota to meet with key state and military leaders to foster relationships and exchange government, community, and military information.

The 114th Fighter Wing tour began with a meeting with South Dakota Air National Guard leadership. Brig. Gen. Wayne Shanks, Assistant Adjutant General for Air and Col. Russ Walz, 114th Fighter Wing commander presented a unit overview explaining the unit's daily operations. After watching an F-16 launch, the group toured a hangar to observe maintenance operations and took a walk on the flight line to Base Operations for their final brief before departing the base.

Sioux Falls was one of many stops on the state wide tour. The delegation of Suriname leaders also visited Rapid City and Pierre to visit with personnel about emergency response and how South Dakota handles natural disasters like the flooding along the Missouri River.

The South Dakota National Guard formally established a state partnership program with Suriname in August, 2006. South Dakota and Suriname are similar in size and interests. The state partnership program continues to build economic, educational, civic, and community partnerships mutually beneficial to both countries.