CHARLESTON, W.V. - Maj. Gen. Luis Gutiérrez, Delegate to the Inter-American Board (IADB) of Defense Organization of the United States, recently completed a visit to the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP) between Perú and West Virginia.

Gutiérrez currently serves as Perú's delegate to the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington, D.C., an international committee of nationally appointed defense officials who develop collaborative approaches on common defense and security issues facing countries in North, Central, and South America.

During his visit, Gutiérrez was briefed by Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG, on overall operational capabilities of the WVNG, by Brig. Gen. Russell Crane, Assistant Adjutant General-Army, on special forces operations and training opportunities, and by Brig. Gen. Christopher "Mookie" Walker, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, on aeromedical rescue operations and training opportunities available between West Virginia and Perú as a part of the SPP program. Additionally, he was briefed on the WVNG's domestic response, swift water rescue, search and extraction, and engineering capabilities.

"Creating a better world requires strong partnerships," said Gutiérrez. "Collaboration and engagements between the WVNG and Peruvian Army have helped to build a strong partnership for more than 20 years and will continue to do so for decades to come. We must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another after our successful meetings this week."

"Our SPP relationship with Perú continues to grow and strengthen," stated Hoyer. "Visits like these exposes leaders within the Peruvian Army and the Peruvian Embassy to the unique assets and capabilities the WVNG has and allows us to foster personal relationships at the highest levels that support increased operational integration and opportunities."

This senior leader visit provided a forum to discuss our respective efforts, present, and future, and to promote camaraderie between the military forces of the Republic of Perú and the WVNG SPP.

West Virginia and Perú have been partners through the State Partnership Program since 1996. Through this partnership, the two have participated in more than 130 engagements focusing on regional challenges facing the Andean region, especially in the areas of counter-insurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, and disaster response and recovery.