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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | June 21, 2024

New Jersey Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing Hosts Partner Cyprus

By Staff Sgt. Hunter Hires, Andrew Moseley and Airman 1st Class Connor Taggart, 177th Fighter Wing - New Jersey Air National Guard

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team technicians with the 70th Combat Engineer Battalion of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus visited the 177th Fighter Wing as part of the State Partnership Program June 4-14.

The 70th CEB EOD technicians and 177th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD team technicians observed exhibitions and participated in various exercises, which would typically fall under a U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal team’s field of responsibility.

“There are four initiatives to the State Partnership Program,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. David Bernal, 177th CES EOD team leader. “There’s intelligence, cyber, noncommissioned officer development and EOD.”

During their visit, the Cypriot and American EOD technicians exchanged tactics and techniques in their shared field.

“I believe it [the State Partnership Program] will enhance their response capabilities and give them a greater understanding of the EOD mission sets,” said Master Sgt. Phillip Douglass, 177th CES EOD team flight chief.

The 177th CES EOD team exhibited several examples of these mission sets, including counter-improvised explosive device operations, unexploded ordnance clearance and render-safe procedures, X-ray interpretation skills, night operations and air base recovery after simulated attack. They also experienced demonstrations of rapid explosive hazard mitigation, disposal of unserviceable munitions, exploitation of first-found ordnance, Category A. incident response, defense support to civil authorities with the Atlantic City Police Department bomb squad, a ride in a U.S. Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the retirement ceremony of Senior Master Sgt. David Niedzwiadek, the 177th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight superintendent.

“I think [the State Partnership Program] will guide some decision-making as they continue to grow their EOD battalion over the next several years,” said Douglass.

The New Jersey National Guard and Cyprus have been partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2022. The program has been successfully building relations for more than 30 years and now includes 92 partnerships with 106 nations around the globe.