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South Dakota National Guard members visit Suriname soldiers for professional development event


RAPID CITY, South Dakota — South Dakota National Guard members recently traveled to the South American country of Suriname (SUR'-ih-nahm) to exchange ideas with its military on the professional development of non-commissioned officers.

Lt. Col. Orson Ward says the purpose of the exchange is to "further professionalize" the non-commissioned corps of the Suriname National Army, as well as to expose South Dakota National Guard members to working with other cultures.

Guard members were able to observe how the Suriname Army survives in a jungle environment. Army Staff Sgt. Richard Watkins says Guard members learned how the Suriname soldiers adapt in the dense jungle while maintaining team spirit.

A Defense Department-sponsored partnership was established between South Dakota and Suriname in 2006 and numerous exchanges have since taken place to develop military, political, social and economic ties.

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