STATE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM EVENT
Maj. Gen. Benny M. Paulino, The Adjutant General of the Guam National Guard, was presented with the second highest medal given by the Republic of the Philippines’ Secretary of National Defense, during the recently held Bilateral Exchange Calendar Board at the former Clark Air Base, in Pampanga, the Philippines.
The Outstanding Achievement Medal is a single grade decoration of the Philippines and was awarded by the Secretary of National Defense to personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as citizens of allied nations for distinguished or extraordinary achievement or service in the advancement of science or in socio-economic, technical or military fields related to national defense, or for public service of the highest order.
Rear Admiral Aurelio Rabusa, Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines J9, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve and Retiree Affairs, presented the award to Paulino in appreciation for his extraordinary and distinguished service in spearheading and developing the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program between Guam and the Philippines since its inception in 2000.
The SPP is a Department of Defense-sponsored program administered by the National Guard Bureau, partnering Guard units from different states with selected countries for nation building, among other projects.
Missions under the SPP help strengthen relations between the Philippines and the U.S. About 18 community service and military training events were discussed and planned during the recent Bilateral Exchange Calendar Board. Community events include Medical Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, Engineer Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, and Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Readiness SMEEs. Military to military training events include Basic Instructor courses, and medical first responder SMEEs.
Paulino, in his final address to the attendees, noted how communication between the Guam National Guard and AFP have strengthened, saying, “The bond of our State Partnership is cemented in the professional and personal relationships developed between us over the past 15 years.”
“I have a sense of melancholy as I will be retiring next month. I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch our partnership grow from its infancy. We began with baby steps, but have far exceeded the expectations I envisioned in 2000. Together, we have made the partnership the most successful in the Pacific Command Region,” said Paulino.
The partnership between GUNG and the AFP Reserve Command is almost 15 years old and has seen nearly 100 training events conducted, encompassing areas as diverse as civilian-military training, military to military training, and humanitarian missions such as engineer and medical civic action projects.
The bilateral talks were attended by senior leaders of the AFP Reserve and active duty commands of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as key personnel from the Guam National Guard, the Hawaii National Guard, U.S. Army Pacific, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. Army Cadet Command, and the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group.