WVNG Hosts Peruvian General During State Partnership Program Visit

  • Published
  • By By Edwin Wriston, West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office
  • West Virginia National Guard

The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) recently hosted a visit by Maj. Gen. Mario E. RISCO Carmen, Defense and Military Attaché to the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C. for a State Partnership Program (SPP) exchange at Joint Force Headquarters, Charleston, West Virginia.

During his visit, Maj. Gen. RISCO toured WVNG facilities and spent time meeting senior leaders while participating in detailed discussions on topics such as Emergency Operations Center functions and protocols, aviation medicine and aeromedical evacuations, the Non-Commissioned Officer Development Program (NCOPD), and the WVNG’s Army Interagency Training and Education Center (AITEC). Additional topics of discussion included WVNG domestic response operations and capabilities in the event of a natural disaster, helicopter wildland firefighting training, swift water rescue operations, and integrated operations with civilian agencies and relief organizations during times of disaster or crisis, and how Perú can integrate and duplicate these features into their national operations.

As a result of the meetings, additional joint training opportunities both in Perú and in West Virginia were discussed to include WVNG Soldiers and Airmen travelling to Perú to provide further mentoring under the NCOPD program, and for Peruvian Soldiers to attend AITEC trainings in West Virginia for Vertical/Horizontal Construction courses, Search and Rescue Extractor 1 courses, and Swift Water qualifications courses.

“Our goal is to build WV and Peruvian military readiness through partnership engagements,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG. “The more engagements we have, the stronger our long-term relationship becomes and the broader scope of operations we can support.”

During his visit, RISCO shared the story of Peruvian Army Colonel Francisco BOLOGNESI who was killed in the Battle of Arica in June 1880. According to RISCO, when faced with a call to surrender, BOLOGNESI famously said, “I have sacred duties to fulfill and I will fulfill them until the last cartridge is burned.” RISCO went on to explain that this saying has great significance to the heritage of the military forces of the Republic of Perú and serves as a strong motivation for current Peruvian Soldiers to complete their duties to their fellow citizens.

“It was a pleasure to travel to West Virginia and help further build our now 20-year plus SPP partnership,” stated Risco. “We are very excited for future training opportunities between WV and Perú and very much look forward to learning from our WV friends.”

“Our SPP relationship with Perú continues to provide opportunities for growth and increased interoperability,” stated Brig. Gen. Christopher “Mookie” Walker, Assistant Adjutant General – Air. “Working closely with our counterparts within the Peruvian Army and the Peruvian Embassy allows us to support increased operational integration and training between our two nations.”

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 counterinsurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, and disaster response and recovery.