RAPID CITY, S.D. - The South Dakota National Guard welcomed leaders of the Suriname military as part of an ongoing partnership with the country through the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.
Suriname military leaders from the Army, Navy and Air Force were here on a week-long Subject Matter Expert Exchange to observe training operations, leadership building techniques and the different capabilities the South Dakota National Guard has to offer, said Army Lt. Col. John Weber, State Partnership Program director with the South Dakota Guard.
"These visits are important for them to see the different types of training we conduct," said Weber. "This way they can determine what is going to best suit them in training their units."
Many of the training events the Suriname leaders observed were part of exercise Golden Coyote, an annual training exercise hosted by the South Dakota Guard that draws participants from throughout the U.S. military as well as other nations.
As part of the exchange, the Suriname visitors took part in the Leader Reaction Course at West Camp Rapid, S.D., where Soldiers are tasked to accomplish goals that require the use of team work. Additionally, they observed training on Military Operations on Urban Terrain, where Soldiers are put into scenarios they may encounter in a deployed situation.
"Our goal is to set-up lasting relationships," said Weber. "We want them to be able to ask us for the help in setting-up different types of training."
"We are seeing training that will be useful to take back to our country," said Suriname army Maj. Richardo Breinburg. "It will be easy to take back with the help of the Guard."
And that relationship is a two-way street with benefits for members of the South Dakota Guard as well.
"Anytime one of our Soldiers gets a chance to work with the Suriname military it's a valuable lesson in working with other cultures and how other countries operate," said Weber.
The partnership of South Dakota and Suriname was established in 2006 and has been growing ever since with several visits a year.
"Senior leaders visit yearly to ensure that everyone continues to stay engaged in our partnership," said Weber. "We want them to start thinking of ways that they would like to see us help them in their operations and training."