Ohio National Guard leadership stand with Angolan delegation in front of Minute Man statue outside entrance to Ohio National Guard Joint Force Headquarters.

Photo by Staff Sgt. George B. Davis, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Members of an Angolan Armed Forces delegation visiting the U.S., along with their embassy and defense attachés, stand with Ohio National Guard senior leaders outside of the Joint Force Headquarters at the Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler Armory in Columbus, Ohio, June 4, 2019. The State Partnership Program hosted the delegation at the request of U.S. Army Africa, enabling meetings and discussions between Angolan military and Ohio National Guard leadership.

Angolan Armed Forces general visits US, Ohio for first time

Senior Airman Amber Mullen, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (06/06/19)

The Ohio National Guard hosted Gen. Jaques Raul, Angolan Armed Forces deputy land force commander, along with four other members of the Angolan military, June 2-6.

During the visit, Raul and the Angolan delegation had the opportunity to observe an Ohio National Guard (OHNG) Homeland Response Force (HRF) disaster response and medical exercise at Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center near Newton Falls, Ohio. The OHNG HRF, one of only 10 in the nation, showcased some of the capabilities the National Guard has when responding to natural disasters.

In addition, the delegation met with the Ohio Department of Veterans Services at the Ohio Statehouse, and toured the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in downtown Columbus. There were also briefings held at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base with the Ohio National Guard’s 121st Air Refueling Wing; Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group; and the 52nd Civil Support Team.

Raul’s visit to Ohio followed a three-day trip to U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) in Vicenza, Italy. The purpose of the visits was to build U.S.-Angola defense relations, provide an overview of U.S. Army and National Guard defense capabilities, and identify future security cooperation opportunities. In addition, Raul was briefed on the Department of Defense State Partnership Program and the wide range of specialty skills, units and capabilities provided by this unique civilian-military organization.

“We came to get experience, learn from (Ohio), and apply it back home,” Raul said. “We have learned how to act during natural disasters. The knowledge we have gained corresponds with the objectives we want to implement in our country.”

The OHNG has participated in five medical security cooperation engagements with the Republic of Angola since 2017. Raul’s visits to USARAF and the OHNG provided the opportunity to share military best practices, encourage cross-nation cultural understanding and promote the development of professional relationships.

“This visit helps all of us,” said Ohio Army National Guard Col. Daniel J. Shank, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army. “It helps us understand our processes so we can communicate them clearly, and it helps to showcase our views and bring understanding to others on how we approach different scenarios.”

The U.S. is committed to working with African partners and regional security organizations to strengthen defense capabilities and enable partner nation armed forces to better address natural disasters, emergencies and threats.

“Both the United States and Angola can benefit from a strengthened relationship because we have various capacities we can share with each other,” said U.S. Army Col. Matthew Sousa, the U.S. defense attaché in Angola. “If we begin to work together and understand each other, then we can pursue these common goals together.”

Photos by Senior Airman Amber Mullen and Staff Sgt. George B. Davis, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs