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Through the State Partnership Program, Ohio National Guard captains and majors have the opportunity to serve a two-year tour in Hungary or the Republic of Serbia as bilateral affairs officers, working with the U.S. Embassy to coordinate with partner nation personnel.

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Courtney Centore, bilateral affairs officer in Serbia, with his family.

Capt. Conrad Rinto II, bilateral affairs officer in Hungary

Capt. Conrad Rinto II, bilateral affairs officer in Hungary.

2 Guard members prepare for new service overseas

Story by Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (01/03/19)

Two Ohio National Guard members have been selected as the new bilateral affairs officers to represent the organization at the U.S. embassies in Serbia and Hungary this year.

Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio adjutant general, announced the appointments of Army National Guard Capt. Conrad Rinto II as the new bilateral affairs officer (BAO) in Hungary and Air National Guard Capt. Courtney Centore as BAO in Serbia.

The BAO assignments are part of the Department of Defense State Partnership Program, which was established in 1993 and is managed by National Guard Bureau, supporting partnerships with more than 70 countries all over the world. Each state partners with its own unique country for the purpose of improving bilateral relations with the United States. The Ohio National Guard has partnered with Hungary since 1993 and the Republic of Serbia since 2006.

“Both (Rinto) and (Centore) bring vast experience to these challenging positions and will be excellent representatives of the Ohio National Guard,” Bartman said.

The BAO is responsible for planning and coordinating State Partnership Program and other events to grow military and civilian connections between the nations.

The Ohio National Guard SPP conducted 40 events in federal fiscal year 2017 with Hungary and Serbia. Training events with the Hungarian Defence Forces included a tactical bridge and water crossing during Szentes Axe 17, and joint operations and air defenses training during Load Diffuser 17.

Training with the Serbian Armed Forces included Cyber Tesla, a weeklong cyber defense exercise, and peacekeeping training during Platinum Wolf 17.

Centore, a logistics readiness officer at the 121st Air Refueling Wing in Columbus, will begin his new position in July. He will be taking his wife Lana and their four children, ages 3 to 11, with him.

“Serbia is full of warm, friendly people and we look forward to embracing their culture, and hopefully we can share some of our Ohio culture as well. I am looking forward most to growing and gaining a new perspective that will help me be a better person and officer,” Centore said.

Rinto, a detachment commander with Operational Detachment Alpha 9224, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (A) based in Columbus, is also a graduate student at the Center for Slavic and East European Studies at The Ohio State University.

“The State Partnership Program provides a unique opportunity in which I can continue to pursue two passions of my life: serving in the military and exploring cultures beyond my own,” he said. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue strengthening the relationship between the state of Ohio and Hungary. It is an honor to become part of this program and I strive to build off its success.”

Rinto will begin his new position in August.

The BAO is a temporary Active Guard/Reserve position, a Family-accompanied tour lasting about two years, and is considered a diplomatic-level assignment.

Current Ohio National Guard captains and majors interested in learning more about the application and experience requirements for the position may contact: Capt. Trevor Ducey, Ohio National Guard State Partnership Program director, at 614-336-4120 or