EDINBURGH, Ind. (Army News Service, Feb. 8, 2007) - A group of dignitaries from an array of countries escorted by Emily Kalogeropoulos, an English language officer working with the U.S. Department of State visited Camp Atterbury Feb. 5 to gain knowledge about the role of local National Guard troops.

"The foreign dignitaries are sponsored by the State Department and selected by the U.S embassy in their country," said Kristin Garey, director of operations and government relations for the International Center of Indianapolis. "They are identified as up and coming individuals in their country."

The group of 12, composed of government officials, foreign policy analysts, politicians, scholars, journalists and decision-makers viewed a presentation about Camp Atterbury and the Indiana National Guard. They had the opportunity to ask questions of Brig. Gen. Michael Kiefer, Joint Forces Land Component commander and Col. Barry Richmond, Camp Atterbury installation commander.

Questions about the Indiana National Guard ranged from recruiting to the morale of deployed National Guard troops from the "Hoosier" state. The dignitaries were particularly interested about how the deployment of local National Guard troops to Afghanistan and Iraq affect local communities.

"The briefing was very informative," said Henrik Von Sydow, a Swedish Parliament member. "It showed the link between the civil community and the National Guard."

Kiefer and Richmond explained to the delegation how supportive the communities surrounding Camp Atterbury have been. They highlighted how supportive the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts had been by giving mobilizing Soldiers tickets to view highly publicized playoff games. The group related well to the Colt's topic because they had the opportunity to participate in the celebration of the Colt's Super Bowl victory in downtown Indianapolis.

"It was very exciting," said Sydow. "It was like the World Cup in Sweden."

(2nd Lt. Anthony D. Buchanan is assigned to the Camp Atterbury public affairs office.)

Page last updated Thu February 8th, 2007 at 14:25