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NEWS | Sept. 13, 2010

New York Guard leaves for South African air show

By Courtesy Story

LATHAM, N.Y., - About 75 Soldiers and Airmen, three aircraft, and two Army vehicles from the New York Army and Air National Guard will travel to South Africa this week to participate in Africa's largest air show as part of the New York National Guard's partnership program with the South African military.

New York Guardsmen have participated in the Africa Aerospace and Defense Exposition, a biannual air and trade show, in South Africa in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Five members of Detachment 1, Co. A, 1st Battalion 224 Security and Support from Latham, N.Y., including: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Teicher; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Noble; Staff Sgt. Richard Jones; Staff Sgt. Edward Rivette, and Sgt. Kevin Ressler will depart for Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburg on Sept. 13 with an  OH-58 scout helicopter.

They will represent the United States and New York at the international air show to be held Sept. 21-25 at Ysterplaat Air Force Base, Cape Town. The OH-58 will be flown to Stewart Air National Guard Base and loaded on a giant C-5A for transportation to South Africa on Sept. 15.

Along with the OH-58 helicopter, which is used in support of domestic operations such as homeland defense, disaster response, civil support, search and rescue, and counterdrug operations, the New York Army National Guard will send an M1117 "Guardian" Armored Security Vehicle and the latest humvee ambulance model to the air show.

Soldiers from the 442nd Military Police Company, based in Yonkers, N.Y., will operate the M1117 and medical Soldiers from the 466th Area Medical Support Company in Queensbury, will go on the mission to explain the medical vehicle.

The New York Air National Guard will send two aircraft and the bulk of the personnel on the mission. The C-5A Galaxy, flown by the aircrews of the 105th Airlift Wing in Newburgh, N.Y., that is being used to transport the Army vehicles and helicopter, will be part of the static aircraft exhibits at the show.

The 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Airport at Westhampton Beach, is sending an HH-60 Pavehawk Rescue helicopter along with highly trained "Guardian Angel" pararescue Airmen to participate in the show.

The New York team is being led by Army Brig. Gen. Renwick Payne, the director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard, who is responsible for overseeing New York's State Partnership Program bilateral relationship with the South African military.

The State Partnership Program is a National Guard initiative that encourages relationships, enhances international security and builds capacity across all levels of society with developing nations. Each State and territorial National Guard is partnered with the military of a developing friendly nation.

New York's partnership with the Republic of South Africa was initiated in 2003. Since then New York National Guard has been sending military visitors to South Africa and hosting military and civilian visitors in return. A New York National Guard Officer responsible for maintaining this bilateral relationship is stationed in the American Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.

Participation in this air show is part of the New York National Guard's ongoing relationship with South Africa.

New York's partnership mission is to create a link between the Republic of South Africa, and the New York National Guard which promotes the exchange of free ideas and opens doors of cooperation in the political, military, economic and social realms.

The five-day Africa Aerospace and Defense Exposition 2010 event, held every two years, is the largest exhibition of Air, Sea and Land capability on the African continent and will feature defense and civilian exhibitors from around the world, according to the event organizers.

The first three days of the event will be a trade show, with the last two days open to the public. An air show is held on those two days. There will be 350 exhibitors from 35 countries, said event organizers.

The New York Air National Guard has sent a C-5A from the 105th Airlift Wing to participate in the Air Show in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Aircraft and personnel from active Air Force units and Air National Guard units are also participating in the United States display at the show.

"Some 80 per cent of the exhibition space has already been booked, which is remarkable considering the worldwide economic situation that has impacted on the global aerospace and defense industry," exhibit director Geoff van Hees said in a press release his agency issued.

"The fact that Turkey, China and the United States of America have all booked large national pavilions at AAD2010 underlines their confidence in South Africa and in the potential for business here. It is the first time these three countries are exhibiting at AAD2010 as national pavilions," Hees said.