WASHINGTON - The Mississippi National Guard and the Republic of Uzbekistan celebrated the 10th anniversary of joining forces under the State Partnership Program during a reception at the Uzbekistan Embassy Dec. 12.
Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, adjutant general, and other senior leaders from the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard attended to commemorate the partnership.
“We greatly cherish our partnership with Mississippi that for the past years has grown and expanded as never before,” said Vladimir Norov, minister of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan. “It started with a mutual desire to enhance military-to-military partnership.”
The State Partnership Program is a Department of Defense National Guard Bureau security cooperation program that establishes a military relationship between a state’s National Guard and a partner country’s military. Other program goals include building enduring relationships, interoperability and readiness.
Boyles said the Mississippi National Guard and Uzbekistan had conducted 200 partnership engagements over 10 years, including key leader meetings, military-to-military exchanges and exercises.
“I am grateful for our steadfast partnership with Uzbekistan, and the Mississippi National Guard looks forward to continuing our partnership and building relationships for many more decades to come,” he said.
Mississippi and Uzbekistan have celebrated several milestones during the partnership. In 2018, Mississippi hosted Uzbekistan senators to discuss trade and industry partnerships. In 2019, representatives from Mississippi, including the governor, agriculture commissioner and adjutant general, met in Uzbekistan with leaders of the country to discuss opportunities for trade, education and economic development.
In April 2021, Uzbekistan soldiers participated alongside Mississippi National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group, in their first joint airborne operation. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director of the Air National Guard, observed the jump.
The Mississippi Guard and Uzbekistan have had subject matter expert exchanges, bilateral conferences, and partnerships between universities in Mississippi and Uzbekistan. The Uzbekistan military also joined Southern Strike, Patriot South, Ardent Sentry and Regional Cooperation exercises, Best Warrior Competitions, disaster response and soldier development training.
“We look forward to expanding our foreign partner’s participation in Mississippi-hosted exercises in 2023,” said Lt. Col. Amanda Villeret, director of the Mississippi State Partnership Program.