D.C. soldiers, airmen work alongside Jamaican partners
By Capt. Renee Lee , 113th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 09, 2014
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- District of Columbia National Guard soldiers and airmen kicked off a weeklong subject matter expert exchange with their Jamaican Defence Force counterparts Monday.
The team of wheeled vehicle maintenance experts will spend one week working alongside their JDF colleagues, also vehicle maintenance experts, to share best practices and ultimately learn from each other.
"This mission is an opportunity for us to exchange knowledge," said Master Sgt. Linroy Davis, vehicle maintenance superintendent of the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard. "While working together, we can offer suggestions and our JDF counterparts can also offer us suggestions on what we can do."
Since 1999, Jamaica and the D.C. National Guard have built on their partnership under the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program. The SPP, a security cooperation program, links U.S. states' and territories' National Guard units with the armed forces of more than 70 partner nations.
On the first day, the Jamaican hosts provided an overview of the JDF's vehicle maintenance operations' various shops, including used parts, textiles, welding, carpentry, machine, and telecommunications.
Sgt. Amelia Jones Ellis, the JDF technical store representative of the stores shop, spent the first afternoon showing CW2 Courtney Britton, D.C. National Guard team lead, explaining her shop's mission. They discussed different ways of processing inventory, while learning about similar shared processes.
For some D.C. National Guard soldiers and airmen, this visit to Jamaica is their first SPP mission. Others, like Davis, are veterans.
"After learning about the SPP last year, I volunteered to support this mission this year," said Senior Airman Renardo Butler, 113th Wing vehicle mechanic. "I wanted to see how our counterparts operate and see what we can learn from them."
For both SPP first-timers and veterans, the first day was an opportunity to create and continue building existing relationships with their Jamaican colleagues. Touring the JDF's various facilities, both the American and Jamaican wheeled vehicle maintenance experts shared common knowledge and offered insight and different perspectives.
The subject matter expert exchange is an opportunity to compare our systems and listen to each others' suggestions, said JDF WO2 Rattray D.
"I look forward to tomorrow, when we'll get our hands dirty and see how we do."