Cambodian senior leaders visit Gowen Field

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sarah Pokorney
  • 124 FW Public Affairs
Senior leaders from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces visited Air National Guard facilities here as part of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program Dec. 6.

The group of 10 delegates spent four days in the Boise area meeting with local Army and Air National Guard leaders to develop cooperation and mutual understanding of our cultures and our military capabilities.

"This program allows the Cambodian Ministry of Defense to understand how you organize forces and maintain equipment," said Col. Savoeun, a Cambodian delegate from command headquarters.

The Air National Guard facility and mission tour started with a welcome briefing at the 190th Fighter Squadron by Lt. Col. Ryan Odneal. He welcomed the delegation and provided a brief history of the 190th. He went on to explain how the 190th proudly claims the title of the world's best A-10 squadron as reigning champions of the Hawgsmoke bi-annual A-10 competition.

On the first stop of the tour three of the delegates took the controls in the A/OA-10 Full Mission Trainer while the others looked on intently. They were able to see the Idaho landscape in the simulation including Lucky Peak reservoir and Bronco Stadium on the Boise State University campus.

Lt. Col. James Lawson, the 124th Maintenance Group deputy commander, led the group on to the A-10 hangar for a close-up look at the A-10 aircraft. Master Sgt. Mark Klaudt, a phase dock tactical aircraft maintenance specialist, provided a detailed overview of the aircraft. Master Sgt. Paul Nichols, an aviation technician explained the avionics, navigation and controls along with the detailed records they keep on each aircraft.

Col. Savoeun said that after the visit to Idaho the team of delegates would prepare a report detailing their observations and recommendations to present to the Cambodian Ministry of Defense to aid in their peacekeeping mission and U.N. support.

"Your organization is very strong all the way down to a tactical level. Our staff should be looking at better ways to maintain our expensive equipment for our delegation's report to our government," said Col. Savoeun.

At the Maintenance Squadron metals shop Master Sgt. Robert Garrett, the aircraft metals technology supervisor and metals tech specialists Master Sgt. Steve Nemeth and Tech. Sgt. Gregory Slater demonstrated the equipment used to machine aircraft parts. The tour made its final stop at the weapons element.

The SPP started in 1993 and couples a foreign country with a U. S. state. Today, most states have similar partnerships.

Four months ago, the Idaho National Guard formally entered a partnership with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Since that time leaders from the Idaho National Guard have traveled to Cambodia. The partnership is planned to last more than 20 years.

"It gives the Cambodian Armed Forces and the kingdom of Cambodia the opportunity to develop their economic, civic and military competencies through a partnership with not only the National Guard, but the State of Idaho," said Col. Tim Kelly, SPP manager for the Idaho National Guard.