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Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | June 7, 2023

Delegation from North Macedonia arrives, visits Ethan Allen Firing Range

By Capt. Mikel Arcovitch VTNG JFHQ

The Vermont National Guard is hosting a delegation from North Macedonia including including the Minister of Defense, Slavjanka Petrovska, and the Chief of Defense, Lt. Gen. Vasko Gjurchinovski.

North Macedonia and the Vermont National Guard share a relationship through the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program. Vermont and North Macedonia have been partners since 1993.

Vermont Army National Guard senior leaders including Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont adjutant general; Col. Tracey Poirier, director of the joint staff; Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Edwards, senior enlisted advisor; and Col. Len Poirier, commander, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (MTN), highlighted key training occurring at the range.

"The partnership with North Macedonia is one of the most enriching aspects of my nearly 40 years in service," said Knight. "It's these types of relationships that work toward global security, and that is especially important in the current atmosphere we are living in," said Knight.

Vermont and North Macedonia deployed together to Afghanistan in 2010, the first state partnership to deploy to a combat environment together.

"Having served as the bilateral affairs officer in North Macedonia and now as the director of the state partnership program, I can't emphasize enough how important this relationship is, professionally and personally," said Maj. Gene Enriques, director of the state partnership program. "It has been a distinct privilege to work with the people and Soldiers of North Macedonia for most of my career. This is Minister Petrovska's first visit to Vermont, and I am honored to help showcase the Vermont National Guard and our great state," said Enriquez.

The Vermont National Guard and North Macedonia have multiple exchanges every year as part of the partnership. Last summer, Vermont sent about 100 Soldiers to North Macedonia as part of Swift Response. North Macedonia currently has their civil support team training with Vermont and Senegal's civil support team on emergency response best practices.

"This partnership is very strong, and I look forward to working with Vermont to build it even more," said Petrovska. "We look forward to all our military exchanges, and I hope to expand it even more on the civilian side."

Vermont recently hosted the Minister of Agriculture as part of expanding the partnership beyond military-to-military exchanges. Vermont and North Macedonia seek to teach and learn best practices from one another to expand economic, agricultural, and tourist opportunities among others.

"Even after 30 years I think we've just scratched the surface of where our partnership can go," said Knight.

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