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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | May 7, 2015

South Carolina National Guard hosts state partnership visit with Colombian army

By Capt. Brian Hare South Carolina National Guard

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina National Guard hosted a three-day engagement with representatives from the Colombian army in support of the State Partnership Program between the Republic of Colombia and the state of South Carolina, May 4-6.

The S.C. National Guard has conducted seven engagements focused on ground vehicle maintenance with the Colombian military since September 2013. The purpose of this visit was the exchange of maintenance management ideas that will benefit both partners, according to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Lawrence Maner, senior maintenance warrant officer for the S.C. Army National Guard.

"What we're showing them is some of the business practices that we have in place in areas such as repair part status, job order status, man-hour accountability and demand analysis of parts," Maner said. "These are the practices that enable us to keep our equipment in fully mission capable status."

Maner added that his team was hoping to help the Colombians shorten the process of tracking and acquiring repair parts, as well as with giving their commanders visibility of job order statuses and the operational readiness rate of their equipment.

The Colombian team toured several maintenance facilities during the visit, including a stop at the S.C. Army National Guard's Unit Training Equipment Site (UTES), located at the McCrady Training Center in Eastover. During the UTES visit, the team was presented with a demonstration of the launching and retrieving of a bridge with an M60A1 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge, as well as a tour off all the UTES facilities.

"We are here to exchange technical logistical experience and knowledge," said Lt. Col. Felipe Sandoval, the supply and maintenance director with the Colombian army. "We would like to learn the best practices to integrate into our doctrine."

Maner stressed that the exchange of ideas with the Colombians is a two-way street, and that members of his team had previously traveled to Colombia to observe their business practices, as well.

"We are exchanging ideas and are quite thrilled to have them up here," Maner said. "We go down there as many times as they come up here to South Carolina."

The State Partnership Program between the Republic of Colombia and the state of South Carolina was formally begun via a signed partnership proclamation on July 23, 2012, becoming the 64th state partnership in the program's history.

"Since 2012 when the partnership started, the Colombians have made great strides in advancing their maintenance systems," said Lt. Col. Dave King, state partnership program director for the S.C. Army National Guard. "We are honored to be a part of it. The state partnership with Colombia has motivated our Soldiers to learn more, so they can contribute even more to the program."