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NEWS | Aug. 10, 2012

New Hampshire Air Guard members participate in all-female law enforcement exchange with El Salvador

By Air National Guard Capt. Suzanne Lamb New Hampshire National Guard

LOURDES, El Salvador - Four Airmen from 157th Air Refueling Wing's Security Forces traveled here recently to participate in an all-female law enforcement exchange as part of the New Hampshire National Guard's State Partnership Program with the Salvadoran military.

The three-day workshop focused on military police tactics and techniques. Thirty one officers and enlisted soldiers from the Salvadoran army, navy and air force traveled from bases around the country to attend the event at the Ceopaz military base in Lourdes.

"This information is very important for us," said Maj. Armida Aguilar, a nurse in the Salvadoran army. "We receive basic instruction in security, but not the specific techniques."

The techniques demonstrated during the first day of the exchange included overcoming head, chest and choke holds.

"These skills and techniques give me the confidence I need to do my job," said Senior Airman Heather Gagnon of the 157th Security Force Squadron. "I am excited to be here to share the information and to learn from the Salvadorans as well."

Females currently make up 5 percent of the Salvadoran military.

"This training is a great refresher," said 1st Lt. Diana Reyes, a military police officer in the Salvadoran army. "The practice makes me feel more confident to apply these techniques, both in the military and if necessary in my civilian life. Now I hope I can teach others as well."

The State Partnership Program is a National Guard Bureau program partnering Guard units from different states with selected countries for nation building, and other projects.