On June 17–18 Chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard Bureau General Daniel. R. Hokanson with delegation paid a visit to Lithuania to strengthen and further develop the cooperation between the U.S. Pennsylvania National Guard and the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The guest met with Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys and Vice Minister of National Defence Margiris Abukevičius.
“We are members of the largest defensive alliance in the world. The powerful and devoted allies are united by an overriding commitment to freedom and security. The United States National Guard is one of those Allies who has stood by us for many years helping to build up the Lithuanian Armed Forces across multiple areas. After the conversation General Hokanson and I had I can assure you that the cooperation will not end. Side by side with the projects already gathering pace we are eyeing new opportunities for experience exchange and stronger connectivity,” said Chief of Defence Lt Gen V. Rupšys.
Chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard Bureau General Daniel. R. Hokanson and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen V. Rupšys also discussed national and allied capabilities and existing threats in tehregion, defence and deterrence plans, and military cooperation too if such is the necessity from the perspective of ongoing projects and plans ahead.
Chief of Defence underscored how important the process of strengthening the National Defence Volunteer Force and the Land Force division level command and control (C2) capability with assistance from the U.S. was for Lithuania, and pointed out the contribution of the Pennsylvania National Guard to mechanization of the Iron Wolf Brigade and development assistance to the Air Base. Lt Gen V. Rupšys also thanked General Daniel R. Hokanson for the opportunity to train a Lithuanian Air Force crew to operate the UH 60 Black Hawk helicopters Lithuania was procuring.
“We have been and we will be repeating: the more U.S. boots on the ground in Europe, the safer continent it is. Realistic deterrence rests on two pillars in our region: military presence of NATO and the U.S. Allies, therefore we aim to secure a persistent presence of combat U.S. capabilities here on the ground. We are prepared to spend more resources on it,” said Vice Minister at the meeting.
Collaborations between the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the U.S. National Guard last for many years, probably the most prominent portion of it is cooperation with the Pennsylvania National Guard and spans common activities of various scopes and levels with the Lithuanian Land Force, Air Force, Training and Doctrine Command and elsewhere. Approx. 500 joint events have been held together since the start of the cooperation with the Pennsylvania National Guard.
As the 29th Chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard Bureau, General Daniel. R. Hokanson is a military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council of the United States, and the principal official of the Department of Defense for National Guard affairs.
The U.S. National Guard is subordinate to state and federal government and provides reserve for the U.S. Army and Air Force is so necessary, manned by military personnel of the National Guard or by military units deployed in the states and military districts of Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Columbia. The U.S. National Guard has the manpower of over 453 000 troops and pilots ready to engage in homeland defence anytime.
Info credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces
Photo credits: Sgt Spc 1st Class Ieva Budzeikaitė