Tongan delegation impressed with Nevada Guard, Silver State

Brig. Gen. Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu, Tonga’s top military official, boards a Nevada Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Stead for a tour of northern Nevada on Aug. 19. 'Uta'atu wrapped up his tour of Nevada Guard facilities Wednesday after visiting the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno.

 

Photo by Staff Sgt. Mike Getten, Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

 

By Staff Sgt. Mike Getten

Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

 

RENO — Like millions of other first-time visitors to the Silver State before him, Brig. Gen. Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu, Tonga’s top military official, gained a new appreciation for Nevada’s people and resources on his initial visit to Nevada. The Nevada portion of his trip to the United States under the auspice of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program concluded Wednesday after a stop at the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno.

On his final day in northern Nevada, 'Uta'atu took a tour of the Nevada Air National Guard base in Reno hosted by 152nd Airlift Wing staff. The tour began with an inspection of a C-130 aircraft, a review of the maintenance hangar and a visit to the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s modern firehouse.

The Tongan general then inspected Nevada Counterdrug equipment and Nevada's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package unit. Subsequently, he took a tour of the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron’s vehicle maintenance building and the 152nd Security Forces Squadron’s Modular Containerized Small Arms Training Set, a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range.

“I’m very impressed with Nevada,” ‘Uta’atu said Tuesday following an Army aviation orientation flight. “I’m amazed by the facilities we have seen and all the people we’ve encountered, ranging from the hotel staff to the Nevada Guard leadership to the Soldiers we’ve met.”

The Tongan delegation of three that included Lt. Col. Lord Ve’ehala and Sr. Warrant Officer Pakofe Kava toured Nevada Guard facilities, met with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s staff, and spent several hours with Reno-based Tongan community leaders during the northern Nevada portion of their trip.

In September, Nevada will send a delegation to Tonga.

“Next month, we will host the Nevada military in Tonga,” said ‘Uta’atu. “We will be planning for future exchanges between Nevada and Tonga.”

The Nevada Guard and Tonga entered into their State Partnership Program agreement in April. The pact is the newest official relationship in the program, a Department of Defense function that links a state’s National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial agreement.

Brig. Gen. Bill Burks, Nevada’s Adjutant General, said Nevada is an ideal partner for Tonga because both face similar challenges.

“Nevada and Tonga both have population centers separated by vast expanses of land or water.,” Burks said “In a contingency situation, we both must overcome similar difficulties created by the vast areas between our population centers.”

The early exchanges between the two parties are focusing on planning for future training exchanges.

Both generals agreed the partnership is gaining momentum.

 “In the beginning phase of this partnership, we are looking at 6-8 exchanges per year,” Burks said. “We aim to focus on medical, legal, enlisted development, engineering, environmental and renewable energy exchanges in the future as well as joint military exercises, too.

 “We are only limited by our imaginations on how we can expand this partnership in the future.”

“I hope the momentum continues,” ‘Uta’atu said. “I can see a lot of opportunities for us to work together, not only for us in the military, but for all Tongans and Nevadans.”

Longtime Nevada Army Guard aviator, advisor promoted to major general
November 17, 2017
Longtime Nevada Army Guard aviator, advisor promoted to major general

Robert Herbert, 60, of Las Vegas, surpassed even his wildest military expectations when he became the first federally-recognized major general in the Nevada Army Guard in more than three decades in August He’s the first Nevada Army Guard officer to attain two stars since William Engel was major general while holding the office of Adjutant General from 1979-1983.

Nevada Guard joins community allies to recognize Veterans at annual Reno parade
November 14, 2017
Nevada Guard joins community allies to recognize Veterans at annual Reno parade

RENO – Nevada Guardsmen were among the thousands who marched through the heart of the Biggest Little City here Saturday during the 2017 Veterans Day down famed Virginia Street. The Nevada Guard was one of the participants in the parade alongside other military entities, non-profit Veterans organizations and numerous high school JROTC units.

Reimers puts wrap on top Best Warrior season in Nevada Guard history
November 7, 2017
Reimers puts wrap on top Best Warrior season in Nevada Guard history

CARSON CITY -- Discussions about the top individuals in a respective athletic endeavor are certain to continue ad infinitum and cause heated arguments late into the night at the local watering hole. A stark contrast to those discussions, however, is the inarguable fact that a non-descript 5-foot-9, 160 pound, 22-year-old truck driver from the 1859th Transportation Company, Sgt. Grant Reimers, is clearly the Best Warrior in Nevada Army Guard history. In October, Reimers capped his remarkable Best Warrior season by placing second in the Department of the Army “All Army” Best Warrior Competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.

Nevada Guard mourns loss of 100th Quartermaster Company 1st Sgt.
October 26, 2017
Nevada Guard mourns loss of 100th Quartermaster Company 1st Sgt.

LAS VEGAS — Selfless service defined the life, career and ultimately untimely death of 1st Sgt. Charleston Hartfield, who proudly served as a Soldier with the 100th Quartermaster Company and as a Las Vegas Metro police officer.

The Nevada National Guard, Metro Police, and the community of Las Vegas joined together in a series of events Oct. 20-21 to recognize and celebrate Hartfield’s life.

Field Maintenance Shop rollout: New $8 million facility will support 17 Nevada Army Guard units
October 18, 2017
Field Maintenance Shop rollout: New $8 million facility will support 17 Nevada Army Guard units

STEAD, Nev. – Marked by a Piute blessing and a ribbon cutting hosted by Adjutant General Brig. Gen. William Burks, the Harry Reid Training Center’s state-of-the-art Field Maintenance Shop opened here on Oct. 12.