SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon National Guard is hosting a delegation this week from the Vietnam People's Army as part of its ongoing State Partnership Program.
The Vietnam delegation visited the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, Ore., and the State Capitol in Salem, Ore., where they met with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and several Oregon legislators for a brown-bag lunch session.
Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Khue, deputy chief of general staff for the Vietnam People's Army, leads the delegation, which includes experts in law, marine shipping, military science, finance planning and investment, and international relations. Senior Col. Nguyen Xuan Kien, vice director of military medical department of the Vietnam People's Army, is also a part of the delegation.
The week of visits to Oregon National Guard facilities throughout the state will culminate in an SPP workshop scheduled Wednesday through Friday in Portland. The workshop is scheduled to include experts in several fields including academics, economics, port and maritime security, humanitarian aid, search and rescue, and renewable energy.
The Oregon National Guard's State Partnership with Vietnam is poised to greatly benefit all those involved in the program, with cross-cultural awareness, domestic emergency preparedness training, and the enhancement of international relationships.
"We hope to build upon the established success with our SPP partner, Bangladesh, and work just as effectively with our new partner, the National Committee for Search and Rescue of Vietnam, to create a foundation for future success in the areas of search and rescue and emergency response," said Capt. Stephen Bomar, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office.
Oregon National Guard Soldiers and Airmen bring a wealth of critical, real-world experience to issues deemed important in Vietnam, in particular, domestic emergency response and natural disaster preparedness and response, Bomar added.
The partnership between the Oregon National Guard and Vietnam was made official in November 2011 as part of the National Guard Bureau-sanctioned program, which pairs partner countries with National Guard states. Oregon has both Vietnam and Bangladesh as its state partners.
The State Partnership program complements broader U.S. engagement with Vietnam in pursuit of shared priorities such as disaster relief, education, health, trade and the environment. The program directly supports the broad national interests and security cooperation goals of the United States by engaging partner nations via military, socio-political, and economic conduits at the local, state, and national levels.
Vietnam, located in Southeast Asia, has a population of about 91.5 million. It is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos and Cambodia.