Ohio National Guard News

Focus on State Partnership Program:

Ohio, Hungary team up at Northern Strike 18

Northern Strike logo

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Airmen in tent

Col. James R. Camp (second from right), Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air, receives a briefing from members of the 123rd Air Control Squadron Aug. 14, 2018, during Operation Northern Strike 18 in Alpena, Mich. Northern Strike 18 is a multinational, multiservice training exercise held annually in northern Michigan.

Thunderbolt aircraft with explosion below from bomb.

ABOVE: Col. James R. Camp (left), Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air, is presented with a unit patch by a member of the Hungarian Defence Forces.

LEFT: An A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft drops a guided bomb onto a gunnery range as part of live-fire demonstration.

Hungary 25th logo.

ALPENA COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Mich. (08/15/18) — Fighter planes and helicopters flew overhead while tanks and infantry troops assaulted the objective. Full spectrum operations were underway.

The crowd watching could be forgiven for thinking an actual battle was taking place. Instead, it was the culmination of Northern Strike 18, a multinational, multiservice training exercise held annually in northern Michigan.

This year, one of the partner nations participating was Hungary, which had sent members from its air force to observe and train with members of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 123rd Air Control Squadron. The Ohio National Guard and Hungarian Defence Forces have worked together for the last 25 years as part of the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program (SPP), designed to promote regional stability and develop civil-military relationships.

“Our partnership has continued to build interoperability and improve our standards of training,” said Capt. Trevor Ducey, the Ohio National Guard SPP director. “This training opportunity in Northern Strike 18 came as a direct result of Ohio National Guard participation in Load Diffuser 2017.”

Exercise Load Diffuser 2017 was a Hungarian-led, multinational exercise held in Hungary in May 2017. More than 400 military members from six allied countries — Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic and United States — participated in the two-week exercise. During Northern Strike 18, Hungarian air combat controllers trained side-by-side with members of the 123rd ACS, observing how the U.S. Air Force coordinates and directs its air power.

Later this summer, members of the 123rd ACS will travel to Hungary as part of a mobile training team to further work with the Hungarians on ground control intercept air defense tactics. As part of the trip, advisors from United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa will be validating the training the Airmen are providing to coalition partners.

“Our relationship continues to grow, as we work more and more with our partners,” Ducey said. “Whether it’s our military partnerships or as we grow our civilian connections, we keep growing stronger.”

The Ohio National Guard’s partnership with Hungary began in 1993, with Hungary officially joining NATO in 1999. This year, the ONG celebrates 25 years teaming with Hungary, one of the oldest partnerships in the SPP.

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