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NEWS | March 23, 2011

Romanian Air Force officers visit Alabama Guard unit

By Alabama National Guard

MONTGOMERY, AL - Five officers from the Romanian Air Force visited the Alabama National Guard's 187th Fighter Wing recently.

Over their five-day visit, the Romanian officers received a broad overview of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet operations and sustainment programs of the Alabama National Guard.

The Romanian Air Force is considering plans to change their fighter aircraft force to the F-16, so the visit to a fully operational fighter wing was a source of invaluable insight into the requirements, maintenance, operations, reliability and capabilities of the F-16.

The visit was part of the State Partnership Program, created after the end of the Cold War. The SPP at first paired state National Guard organizations with former communist countries in a program intended to establish or normalize relations in a new and positive manner.

The SPP has since expanded to partnerships with 63 countries in the areas of responsibility of six combatant commands.

Romania, the first Warsaw Pact nation to enter the program, was paired with the Alabama Guard in 1994. Since then, Alabama Guard and Romanian military personnel have participated in dozens of training exercises, activities and assistance visits in both Alabama and Romania.

"The Alabama National Guard and Romania partnership is a mature relationship, established more than 17 years ago," said Alabama National Guard SPP coordinator, Lt. Col. William A. Overby.

"Alabama continues to be a valuable partner in enabling Romania to build capacity to support deploying troops, enhance military capabilities, improve NATO interoperability, and reinforce the principles of responsible governance."

The 187th Fighter Wing has plans to continue to share its lessons learned from years of F-16 experience with their Romanian Air Force counterparts through the Alabama National Guard SPP in the future.