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NEWS | Aug. 28, 2012

D.C. National Guard leaders meet with Jamaican Defense Force leadership, solidify SPP relationship

By Courtesy Story District of Columbia National Guard

WASHINGTON - Senior leaders of the Jamaica Defense Force recently met with District of Columbia National Guard leadership and Department of Defense officials to discuss future objectives as part the JDF's partnership with the D.C. Guard through the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.

"Senior official visits are a way to strengthen professional bonds between the D.C. National Guard and the Jamaica Defense Force,"said Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, commanding general of the D.C. Guard. "This is our time to discuss continued mutual support through the State Partnership Program and plan what kind of subject matter expert exchanges between our forces would be mutually beneficial."

The visit began with a trip to the Jamaican Embassy, followed by a capabilities briefing and tour of the D.C. National Guard Armory. The party then traveled to Joint Base Andrews and Davison Army Airfield for an overview of D.C. National Guard aviation assets. The JDF and D.C. Guard aviation personnel discussed future potential subject matter expert exchanges for the weather detachment and aviation maintenance.

While in the District, Anderson and his party met with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief, National Guard Bureau. He also met with officials at the Center for Hemispheric Studies and Inter-American Defense Board.

Anderson and his staff also visited Fort Meyer, Va., to view the 2012 Military District of Washington Twilight Tattoo. The tattoo at Fort Meyer held special meaning as members of the D.C. Guard's 257th Army Band took part in a military tattoo celebration in Jamaica as part of the ongoing partnership.

"We had so many wonderful opportunities to interact with civilians as well as the JDF." said Sgt. 1st Class Cynthia Marr, 257th Army Band acting first sergeant. "We performed the pre-show and intermission music for the 50th anniversary tattoo. Of all the military bands there, including the bands from Canada and England, we were the only ones from the United States. We had a great time."

The National SPP provides partnership and capacity-building capabilities by pairing up National Guard elements with the militaries of nations throughout the world. The 20-year-old program has built relationships in 65 countries, with many expanding beyond military to military exchanges.