Friday, April 19, 2013

Former Vietnam War adversaries build bridges of friendship through State Partnership Program

IMG_3285 by oregonmildep
IMG_3285, a photo by oregonmildep on Flickr.
Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees (right), Adjutant General, Oregon, and Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Khue (second from right), Deputy Chief of General Staff for the Vietnam People's Army, discuss a map of Vietnam, during the State Partnership Program Workshop, in Portland, Ore., April 19.

Dr. D. Blair Craig (far left), Program Manager for Joint Directorate of Military Support, presented the map to Khue and Rees, while Senior Captain Mai Tat Thang, American Desk Officer, Vietnam People's Army helped translate.

The map represents the region in Vietnam where both Khue and Rees fought on opposite sides of the Vietnam War in 1969.

The State Partnership Program workshop, held April 17-19 included regional, national, and international experts in several fields including academics, economics, port and maritime security, humanitarian aid, search and rescue, and renewable energy.

--> “There are three of us here who in 1969 were on opposite sides of very serious circumstances,” said Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon, at the workshop, referring to himself, Dr. Blair Craig, Program Manager for Joint Directorate of Military Support, and Lt. Gen. Khue.

Earlier in the day, Craig showed Rees and Khue a map of the region in Vietnam where the two generals had been on opposing sides during the Vietnam War in 1969 — Rees as a 24-year old troop commander, and Khue also as a young combat engineer. They both recalled battles in the same areas on the map.

“We see a better way ahead, where people can share understanding and common goals in a peaceful and cooperative way, and perhaps all the sacrifice will have been for good in the long term for both countries,” said Rees, “We have come a long way in 44 years.” 

The partnership between the Oregon National Guard and Vietnam was made official in November 2012 as part of the State Partnership Program, which pairs emerging democracies with National Guard states.  Oregon currently has both Vietnam and Bangladesh as its state partners.

--> The State Partnership program complements broader U.S. engagement with Vietnam in pursuit of shared priorities such as disaster relief, education, health, trade and the environment. The program directly supports the broad national interests and security cooperation goals of the United States by engaging partner nations via military, socio-political, and economic conduits at the local, state, and national levels. 

Posted by Master Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs.  Photo by Spc. Matthew Burnett, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

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