ACCRA, Ghana, - Air National Guardsmen from three states are
working together to support a new partnership with the west African nation of
A detachment of Airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Civil
Engineering Squadron arrived here on April 8 to work on a construction
project here at the Acota air base.
They worked alongside a contingent of Guardsmen from the North Dakota Air
National Guard, who are at the worksite managing the overall project.
After the Michigan CES team works at the site for about two weeks, a similar
team from North Dakota will pick up where Michigan left off.
"Working with our Ghana partners is a way to build up goodwill and
camaraderie between the two nations," said Maj. John Gibbs, the base civil
engineer with North Dakota's Civil Engineering Squadron from the 119th
The Michigan Guardsmen were transported to Ghana by a KC-135 Stratotanker
operated by the 190th Air Refueling Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard.
The Kansas Coyotes flew with an additional crew to accommodate the long
flight from Selfridge to the Lajes Field in the Azores Islands in the
mid-Atlantic Ocean and then on to Ghana.
For most of the Guardsmen involved, arriving in Ghana marked a first visit to
the African continent.
"It was a new experience for us," said Senior Master Sgt. Doug Copeland, one
of three Kansas Guardsmen, who served as crew chiefs for the flight to Ghana.
"No one on our crew had ever landed in Africa before."
The mission to Ghana is a part of the National Guard's State Partnership
Program which pairs state National Guards with emerging nations to help
support stable governments and build relations between the two nations.
Ghana recently became a partner with North Dakota. Michigan is establishing a
partnership with Liberia, a neighboring nation to Ghana. The Michigan Guard
has also enjoyed a long partnership with Latvia in eastern Europe.