139th Airlift Wing Hosts Officials from Republic of Panama

Published 01/28 2014 05:24PM

Updated 01/28 2014 06:46PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In a formal briefing on base at Rosecrans on Tuesday, officers of the 139th Airlift Wing greeted security and emergency management officials from the Republic of Panama.

"The Missouri National Guard partnered with the Republic of Panama Security Forces.  A number of states have these relationships," said Colonel Greg Barrack, the Senior Army Advisor to the Missouri National Guard.

Col. Barrack is stationed in Columbia, Missouri, but helped facilitate this international meeting between State Partners.

Panama has been the State Partner of the Missouri National Guard since 1996. In that time, both countries have shared missions and information.  And the partnership continues to grow.

"Every country we engage with is of some importance to us," Col. Barrack said.  "Panama is obviously geostrategically important.  You have the Panama Canal there.  So obviously helping them helps us."

The Panamanians - native speakers of Spanish - asked detailed questions of the 139th through skilled translators. Most of their questions related to how the part-time National Guard members schedule their hours and get time off their civilian jobs to serve.

Colonel Barrack says bringing the Panamanian officials to Rosecrans is all about creating relationships.

"They can form relationships with people in another country via the State Partnership Program that can last many many years," he said.  "It has a continuity, a real relationship, and it's how a lot of things get done."

The Panamanians will remain in Missouri for two more days. Their visit includes tours of Children's Mercy in Kansas City, and a visit to the Army Corps of Engineers.

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