FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The prime minister of Lithuania, Ingrida Šimonytė, called the partnership between the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Lithuanian Armed Forces a “true friendship” during a visit to Fort Indiantown Gap Dec. 5.
Šimonytė and Audra Plepytė, the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, and other Lithuanian officials received a quick tour of Fort Indiantown Gap and a briefing on the capabilities of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, the adjutant general of Pennsylvania, hosted the visit, which included a flight in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Soldiers with the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site. The visitors toured the surrounding area and downtown Harrisburg from the air.
Later in the day, Šimonytė and Schindler met with Gov. Tom Wolf to discuss the mutually beneficial partnership the commonwealth shares with Lithuania.
The Pennsylvania National Guard has partnered with Lithuania since 1993 as part of the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. Through this security cooperation program, the Pennsylvania Guard has hosted Lithuanian personnel and participated in U.S. European Command, U.S. Army Europe and NATO exercises.
A Pennsylvania National Guard officer serves as the bilateral affairs officer in Lithuania to coordinate security cooperation events for the Guard, multiple other service components, the geographic combatant command and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.