Texas and Chile forge military partnership
By Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada , Texas Air National Guard
/ Published May 04, 2009
CAMP MABRY, Texas -- During a ceremony Wednesday at the Texas State Capitol, distinguished visitors from Chile, the U.S. State Department, Southern Command, U.S. Army South, 12th Air Force, Texas Military Forces and the National Guard observed the signing of a State Partnership Program Memorandum of Agreement between the country of Chile and Texas.
Gen. Oscar Izurieta Ferrer, Commanding officer Chilean Army; Gen. Craig R. McKinley, Chief National Guard Bureau; Rear Adm. Roberto Macchiavello Marceli, Deputy Chief National Defense Staff; Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga, The Adjutant General Texas, and Brig. Gen. John F. Nichols, Assistant Adjutant General Texas Air National Guard, were among the many distinguished guests in attendance during the momentous occasion.
Governor Rick Perry and Chilean Undersecretary of War Mr. Gonzalo Garcia Pino signed the memorandum of agreement, citing mutual interests and long-term economic and military relationships.
"It is a distinct honor today to enter into our state's second military training partnership with the proud country of Chile," Governor Perry said. "The relationships formed through this program have contributed to greater understanding, better interoperability and abiding mutual respect between the United States and countries around the world."
"What began as an effort to help the former Soviet block countries through the growing pains of independence, the State Partnership Program now extends all over the world, building bridges between countries, cultures and military communities," he explained, citing the first State Partnership Program between Texas and the Czech Republic.
This new military partnership," he said, "will be mutually beneficial. I pledge our state's wholehearted participation in this important new relationship." He then introduced the Chilean Undersecretary of War
Through an interpreter Mr. Pino welcomed the U.S. and Chilean delegations and commented on the beauty and similarities of the Texas and Chilean flags. He echoed Governor Perry's comments about the importance of partnerships and said, "It has been more than one hundred years but at last our flags are together."
The State Partnership Program is an established and vigorous program that includes professional military education, command and control exercises, consequence management, military and civilian medical exchanges, search and rescue scenarios, emergency preparedness, counter drug operations, humanitarian construction, border control and senior leader development.
"The State of Texas is proud of its people, culture, and achievements. It is our belief that a Chile-Texas Partnership will be a productive and mutually rewarding experience that will ultimately enhance our joint military capabilities," General Mayorga said. "We look forward to visiting in your country to conduct vigorous training but more importantly to establish bonds of friendship. You are always welcome in the great state of Texas."