NEW YORK, N.Y – Brazilian Lt. Gen. Achilles Furlan Neto, the operations officer for the Brazilian Army, visited New York National Guard senior leaders, Soldiers and Airmen and facilities in Latham, Scotia, Camp Smith and New York City Oct. 6-11.
Furlan's visit was part of the training and exchange partnership between the New York National Guard and the Brazilian military under the National Guard's State Partnership Program.
Furlan checked out Army National Guard aircraft and military vehicles and took part in briefings outlining the capabilities of the New York National Guard's Civil Support Teams, Counterdrug Task Force and individual units to include the 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, the 204th Engineer Battalion, The 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery and the 369th Sustainment Brigade.
He capped his visit with a look at Joint Task Force Empire Shield's security operations in New York City.
"My experience this week in New York has been great. Everyone has been kind and very generous to provide thorough briefings of their capabilities," Furlan said. "Everyone has been treating me like I am one of them but also provided a very organized professional trip that has met all my expectations."
Furlan toured the state and New York City emergency management centers to learn how the New York National Guard interacts with those agencies.
The general also discussed future exchange opportunities between Brazil and the New York National Guard.
"We have incredible opportunities ahead to work together with the Brazilian military to achieve a great partnership," said Col. Robert Mitchell, director of operations for the New York National Guard. "We can capitalize on our different capabilities in the future and continue to work together to make great changes and new developments."
The week-long event focused on disaster and emergency response; aviation operations, maintenance, and safety; military medical and engineer activities. There was also a meeting with brigade and battalion leaders at Camp Smith Training Site in Cortlandt Manor.
Lt. Col. Roberto Santamaria, a military attaché with the U.S. Embassy in Brazil who traveled with Furlan, said he was impressed with the New York Guard.
"It's really incredible, the different capabilities of the Guard and all the diverse entities that work so well together within the organization," he said.
In New York City, Furlan met with New York National Guard leaders at the Lexington Avenue Armory to discuss civilian and military interactions and visited Soldiers and Airmen assigned to Joint Task Force Empire Shield at their duty locations.
He also saw the memorials to the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge.
"The lieutenant general had a great trip," Santamaria said. "Everyone was incredibly professional and helpful. He is impressed by all the military members he has met and the many great opportunities in the future for both New York and Brazil."
Since initiating the partnership with Brazil, the New York National Guard has sent Airmen from the 109th Airlift Wing, which specializes in Arctic and Antarctic flying, to meet with Brazilian aviators and is also sending a Soldier to the Brazilian Jungle Warfare Training School.
In addition to the Brazilian partnership, the New York Guard has had a relationship under the State Partnership Program with the South African National Defence Force since 2003.
Ten New York Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are heading to South Africa Oct. 20 to participate in a military skills competition.