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152nd Airlift Wing hosts Kingdom of Tonga military members

The 152nd Airlift Wing opened its doors to Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava of the Kingdom of Tonga’s military on August 20. While on the walking tour, from left to right: Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, 152nd Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Karl Stark, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, Senior Warrant Officer Kava, Staff Sgt. Malakai Niko, and 152nd Airlift Wing Chief of Staff, Lt. Col. David Manson. (Photo by Master. Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs/RELEASED.)

The 152nd Airlift Wing opened its doors to Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava of the Kingdom of Tonga’s military on August 20. While on the walking tour, from left to right: Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, 152nd Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Karl Stark, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, Senior Warrant Officer Kava, Staff Sgt. Malakai Niko, and 152nd Airlift Wing Chief of Staff, Lt. Col. David Manson. (Photo by Master. Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs/RELEASED.)

The 152nd Airlift Wing opened its doors to Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava of the Kingdom of Tonga’s military on August 20. Master Sgt. Cameron Pieters talks about the capabilities of the C-130 on the flight deck of the aircraft. From left to right: Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Senior Warrant Officer Kava, and 192nd Airlift Squadron Flight Engineer, Master Sgt. Cameron Pieters. (Photo by Master Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs/RELEASED)

The 152nd Airlift Wing opened its doors to Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava of the Kingdom of Tonga’s military on August 20. Master Sgt. Cameron Pieters talks about the capabilities of the C-130 on the flight deck of the aircraft. From left to right: Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala, Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Senior Warrant Officer Kava, and 192nd Airlift Squadron Flight Engineer, Master Sgt. Cameron Pieters. (Photo by Master Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs/RELEASED)

RENO -- In an effort to build global relationships, the Nevada National Guard's State Partnership Program (SPP) with the Kingdom of Tonga brought members of the Tongan military to Reno. The 152nd Airlift Wing here in Reno opened its doors to Brigadier General 'Uta'atu, Lieutenant Colonel Lord Ve'ehala, and Senior Warrant Officer Kava of the Kingdom of Tonga's military on August 20.

'Uta'atu, Lord Ve'ehala and Kava received a capabilities brief by several members of the 152nd Airlift Wing and were then treated to a base tour.

The tour began with a brief look at a C-130, to include the flight deck; a tour of the 152nd Maintenance Squadron hangar and an airplane undergoing an isochronal inspection; a visit to the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron's "Leed Silver" certified firehouse. The tour group then went on a walking tour of some Nevada Counterdrug equipment and a tent containing equipment from the Nevada Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package (NV CERFP) unit.

The Counterdrug and CERFP stops were followed by a look at the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's vehicle maintenance building. The tour concluded at the 152nd Security Forces Squadron's Modular Containerized Small Arms Training Set (MCSATS), a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range.

"Can we take this back to Tonga?" was 'Uta'atu's question after he was able to shoot an M-9 with simulated rounds in the MCSATS simulator.

After the tour, Brig. Gen. 'Uta'atu, Lt. Col. Lord Ve'ehala and Senior Warrant Officer Kava received tokens of appreciation, given by the 152nd Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Karl Stark.

"Today's visit by the Tongan delegation symbolized the first step in a prosperous relationship by showcasing some of the unique capabilities that the 152nd Airlift Wing has to offer as well as discussing how those capabilities could possibly enhance future engagements. Today's visit left me with a pure sense of excitement and curiosity of what is in the realm of possibility for both parties to garner from our new partnership," Stark said after the presentation.

The Tongan delegates have been in the Reno area since August 16th touring various Nevada National Guard facilities and civilian businesses. They will travel on August 21st to Chicago to attend the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) conference and trade show and meet with members of the National Guard Bureau before they head back to the Kingdom of Tonga on August 26th.

Through the SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.