US, South African Soldiers strengthen partnership
Col. Doug Merritt, the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa command inspector general, discusses the IG inspections process and functions with South African National Defense Force counterparts on Oct. 15, 2021. Merrit and other SETAF-AF IG staff joined with South African counterparts to discuss roles, responsibilities, commonalities and differences pertaining to the office of the inspector general. Representatives from the New York National Guard, State Partnership Program partner to South Africa, also attended the weeklong set of meetings. (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRETORIA, South Africa – Army Soldiers and civilians from U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa and the New York National Guard met with their South African counterparts Oct. 11-21 in Pretoria to discuss the role and responsibilities of the office of the inspector general.

Col. Doug Merrit, the SETAF-AF command inspector general, said the meeting underscored the importance of dedication to excellence and fostering trust between the U.S. Army and its partners throughout Africa. He said discussions between partner nations are a vital part of this ongoing relationship.

"Professional armies follow procedures and are accountable to the people they defend, their civilian leadership, and, internally, to their Soldiers," said Merrit. "The trust that results is the keystone to success."

The series of meetings covered a wide range of topics, including sustained cooperation between South African military and the New York National Guard, which is partnered with the country under the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program.

Master Sgt. Joseph O'Connor and Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Denis with the New York National Guard Office of the Inspector General met with members of the South African National Defense Force.

Merrit said leaders are optimistic this and future engagements will foster and grow cooperation and partnerships between SETAF-AF, the New York National Guard, and the South African military.

SETAF-AF remains dedicated to working with U.S. National Guard units and military partners throughout Africa in strengthening efforts in national security, humanitarian aid, and readiness training for military personnel.

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