Wyoming state legislators visit Wyo. National Guardsmen in northern Africa
By Brandon Quester, Wyoming Military Department
/ Published May 18, 2010
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Wyoming state legislators recently traveled with Wyoming National Guardsmen to Tunisia for a multi-national medical training exercise aimed at improving medical practices and ties between Tunisia and the United States.
The Medlite-10 exercise is a tradition between Tunisia and U.S. forces, combining medical expertise that kicked off nearly 10 years ago. This was the seventh combined medical exercise.
Wyoming state Reps. Lori Millin and Rosie Berger, along with state Sen. Wayne Johnson, visited the north-African country as part of Wyoming's State Partnership Program.
The Wyoming National Guard partnered with Tunisia in 2004, with the first state-to-country exchange taking placing in 2005. The goal of the program is to link states with countries to foster mutual interests and establish long-term relationships across military and civilian platforms. This partnership coordinates 2-3 exchanges per year.
During this visit, Wyoming lawmakers were given a tour of the Medlite-10 site.
"Not only was it an amazing cultural exchange to visit Tunisia, but I learned so much about the Wyoming National Guard and its functions," Berger said. "I am so proud of our Wyoming team that implemented the Medlite-10 training. It was quite an undertaking and it appeared that the training was very effective."
Guard and Reserve service members from Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, and Illinois were in Tunisia taking part in the Medlite-10 exercise. The event included around 140 Tunisians and 37 U.S. military medical personnel ranging from physicians and nurses to medical administrators and specialized support individuals.
Millin agreed with Berger, and said the exchange was well worth the visit.
"I was very honored to be able to go and was glad (Maj. Gen. Ed Wright) asked me," Millin said. "It's just a great exchange and it was great to be a part of it."
The Wyoming legislators also said the visit offered great opportunities to not only visit with Tunisian government officials, but also to exchange ideas that could benefit Wyoming and Tunisia.
"I do believe our conversations were substantive and we all gained further knowledge on how to best serve citizens of Wyoming and Tunisia," Berger said.
The exercise not only worked to improve state-to-country relations, but also improved medical interoperability between the two nations.
"Having the legislators with us opened doors that we as military members could not have opened alone," said Wyoming's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Ed Wright. "The State Partnership Program has been, and continues to be, an exceptional exchange program for Wyoming and Tunisia."