Maj. Gen. Roy Andersen, South African National Defence Force Reserves Chief, wanted to learn from a really professional organization, so he brought his staff to visit the New York National Guard Dec. 4-6.
“We are looking to take away the lessons you have learned, so we do not have to relearn them; so we can do things better, and maybe we can identify a few areas where we think we do it better,” he said.
A six-officer delegation, which visited sites in the Albany and New York City areas, was particularly interested in learning about the New York Guard’s family support and employer support programs.
“We know these are good and they work,” Andersen said.
U.S. Army Africa was represented by Brig. Gen. Isaac G. Osborne Jr., USARAF Deputy Commander, who is also Assistant Adjutant General of the Tennessee Army National Guard.
The three-day visit started Dec. 4 with briefings on subjects such as family readiness programs, efforts to keep employers supportive, New York National Guard missions and reintegration programs.
The team visited Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, Dec. 5. The base is home to the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, the only wing in the U.S. military that flies C-130 transport aircraft equipped with skies that enable landings on snow or ice.
Dec. 6 the South Africans visited the New York National Guard’s standing security force in New York City, Joint Task Force Empire Shield. The team inspected the quarters of the 24th Civil Support Team, a unit specially trained to identify chemical, biological and radiological weapons. They also had an opportunity to observe personnel providing security at transportation hubs in Manhattan.
“The New York National Guard did an outstanding job by providing requested relevant information to the current challenges of the South African military,” Osborne said.