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HMAF welcome Chief of National Guard Bureau from U.S.

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 03/02/2020

The Chief of Defense Staff – Brigadier Lord Fielakepa on Saturday morning hosted a meeting with the Chief of the National Guard Bureau from the United States and the Adjutant General of the State of Nevada, at the Masefield Naval Base of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau – Gen. Joseph Langyel along with the Adjutant General of the State of Nevada – Brigadier General Ondra Berry were in the Kingdom on a two day visit which also introduced Brigadier General Berry, who was appointed to the post in August last year, to His Majesty’s Armed Forces which established relations with the Nevada National Guard under Brig. Gen. Berry’s predecessor.

General Joseph Langyel says this visit is about strengthening the ties between the National Guards and Tonga, building on the relationship between the Nevada National Guard and His Majesty’s Armed Forces over the past 6 years.

“I came to make sure the Tonga military knew how important the relationship that the Department of Defence and the National Guard have with Tonga, what an important part of the world this is for us, and how we want to partner with Tonga not just the military but all of Tonga, the country of Tonga to work on anything the military needs but help ensure peace and security in the region. The South Pacific’s a very important part and we want to be a part of it,” said Gen. Langyel

Gen. Langyel said some of the topics of discussion in the meeting with Brigadier Lord Fielakepa included the different areas that the two sides can further collaborate on in future as well as existing projects that can be improved on.

Gen. Langyel said this visit is “to show how committed we are to the state partnership program.”

Speaking about the special relationship between the Nevada National Guard and His Majesty’s Armed Forces he said, “It’s a very successful program. It’s a program where young officers will work together as young officers and over many years they’ll ascend higher levels of responsibility in our militaries and they’ll know each other. And so whether we have to work together for Disaster Response, Humanitarian Assistance, which we all know the danger you face here with cyclones and the rest, or rather we’re working together in some other nation, or some military operation somewhere, we know each other. And it’s very important to us that we’re seen as a valued partner here to Tonga and the other nations in the region because the free and open trade and commerce and operations of the Indo-Pacific is very important to the United States and we’re here and we’re going to be part of it.”

Navy Captain Sione Ulakai, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces said this visit was a significant one to His Majesty’s Armed Forces as it reflects the importance of the relations between HMAF and the Nevada National Guard.

© Radio and Television Tonga News