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Macedonian officials visit Ramstein to advance partnerships, integration

by Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/8/2010 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Ramstein Air Base officials hosted three officers from the Republic of Macedonia army Jan. 26 to 28 to help them enhance future operations and achieve mission success.

Focused on the world of logistics, the three-day visit was designed to allow the Macedonian officers the opportunity to see transportation, packing and handling operations, as well as movements into the theater in support of a deployment, to develop a more standardized system, thus better integrating their operations with the United States and NATO.

"This visit is part of (European Command's) Theater Security Cooperation program to showcase our military capabilities to our partner nations, and it reinforces (the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe's) top priority of building partnerships," said Capt. Al Ocampo, a USAFE logistics manager.

As a member of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, members of the Macedonian army have become a key player in supporting not only the NATO mission, but also the U.S. Air Force's as well.

"Currently Macedonia has a small contingent of soldiers supporting ISAF in Afghanistan and is hoping to increase their support to that mission. As they become more involved in joint operations, they'll have an increased volume of people and equipment that will need to move downrange, and the United States and NATO will be helping them accomplish that," said Capt. Christopher Martagon, the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron materiel management flight commander.

The visit also allowed the group to observe Ramstein AB servicemembers conducting the weeklong operational readiness exercise.

"We have wide cooperation with the U. S. Air Force, and nowadays, since we enforce our forces and presence in Afghanistan, we are looking forward to deeper cooperation," said Macedonian army Capt. Nikola Angelov. "I would like to stress thankfulness for this visit. It gives us a chance to see how the U.S. Air Force works and how we can work together."

The exercise tested many base personnel in their immediate work centers versus in a field training site, allowing the visiting officers the chance to witness actual emergency procedures that would be employed by the base.

"In observing our operations they're able to take some lessoned learned home with them and create processes that allow them to seamlessly integrate with our operations, making it a transparent process," Captain Martagon said.

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