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NEWS | April 2, 2024

Nevada Guard Welcomes Soldiers from Partners Fiji, Tonga

By Spc. Adrianne Lopez, 17th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Section

LAS VEGAS - Soldiers from the Nevada National Guard’s State Partnership Program welcomed Soldiers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and His Majesty’s Armed Forces with a traditional haka dance at the airport.

“It’s a traditional war dance that’s used to welcome people,” Staff Sgt. Keahi Granstrom said. “We made sure to pay our respects to both Fiji and Tonga and give them kukui beads, which are from Hawaii because Vegas is considered the Ninth Island. So we just wanted to make sure to address them properly and make them feel comfortable.”

Soldiers from Fiji and Tonga are in Nevada to compete in the state’s Best Warrior Competition over the next few weeks. Among them are four competitors from Fiji and four from Tonga, all victors in their respective countries’ competitions.

The Nevada National Guard and Tonga and Fiji have been partners in the State Partnership Program since 2014 and 2018, respectively. Nevada has also partnered with Samoa since 2023. 

The Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program has been successfully building relations for over 30 years. It now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations around the globe.



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