19th SFG(A) train with Serbian Paras


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice

The delegation of the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group, consisting of 39 officers, NCOs and civilians, paid a visit to our armed forces from 15 to 22 September, and was divided into six teams (air force, Joint Task Force, Special Forces, Public Relations, medical team and NCOs) led by Maj. Gen. Gregory Wayt. According to the itinerary of the visit, the teams in our units and establishments developed special forms of training, which will be even more insisted upon during Serbia-Ohio military cooperation in the future.

The visit of the the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group, was part of the State Partnership Plan within the SOFA Agreement signed on 7 Septeber 2006 by the President of Serbia Boris Tadic and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. This visit marks one year of successful cooperation with 21 completed activities, both in Serbia and in Ohio. That our army is held in high esteem was proved when our team was involved in HQ planning and preparing of certain units to be deployed in special missions during the visit of our officers and NCOs who took part in the joint exercise held in Ohio in June this year .

The latest activity, the largest and widest in scope so far, continues the process of education and training which was initiated in order to establish and realize new forms of cooperation, planning and the deployment of units. These are the fields where the experineces of American Forces and observing the ways and methods of their work will be most useful in enabling our armed forces for joint work, exercises and peace missions with other armies of the world.

During the visit of the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group to our Armed Forces, both sides formed teams for joint training. The Airmen worked in Batajnica and Ladjevci air bases, the Joint Task Force team worked in the Joint Operations Command of SAF GS, while the members of special forces worked with the parachutist batallion. The Public Relations Department of Serbian MoD hosted the representatives of the ONG PRD, while the medical team visited the Military Medical Academy, as well as the military hospitals in Novi Sad and Nis. Furthermore, the team of OHG NCOs shared their experiences in organziation and work, as these are the current tasks of our armed forces.

The delegation of ONG Airmen, led by Lt.Col. Greg Schnulo, visited the Air Force Command as well as 204th and 98th aviation base and airfields in Batajnica and Ladjevci. The main discussion topics were air craft maintenance, organizing and enabling the work of pilots as well as the planning and carrying out their training, the functioning of signal units, fire protection teams and other important functions for safe working conditions. The visitors saw the hangars, aircraft platforms, while in Ladjevci they had the opportunity to observe the flight and parachutist jump simulators.

The American delegation also included the Joint Task Force team (JTF 73) led by Brigade General Jack Lee. In the Joint Operations Command of SAF GS, the guests presented the method of their work and concrete forms of providing civic support in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane. They demonstrated how they had addressed the problem with a presentation of an overall decision-making process and the analysis of the JTF progress of activities, focusing predominantly on the roles and tasks of HQ officers while placing special emphasis on the position and the role of ONG NCOs.

The lectures aimed at showing the method of quick response task forces in support to civil authorities in case of natural disasters, and various accidents.

The American team was introduced to the organization of SAF GS Joint Operations Command, its tasks and functions, and also attended the performance of HQ war drill, planned and executed according to the new guidelines for operation planning .

General Lee and his co-workers visited the Land Forces Command, the Third Brigade and the Center for Peace Operations.

The demonstration of the joint training of the members of special forces, carried out on 20 September at Nis air base was the closing event of the ONG's visit to Serbia, which was also attended by US Ambassador Cameron Munter, Major General Gregory Wayt,
the Serbian President Boris Tadic, Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac and Lt. Gen. Zdravko Ponos, the Chief of Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, with his associates.

The Director of the ONG Public Relations and Government Affairs, Mark Wayda PhD and his fellow-workers visited the MoD Public Relations Department. After the guests got an insight to the organization and work of the PRD of Serbian MoD, the talks focused on possibilities for promoting the cooperation between the two departments and on concrete projects with the purpose of improving public informing of the progress of the implementations, future plans and opportunities of the State Partnership Program.

The PRD delegations pointed out a strong need for a more intensive sharing of information as well as of video and photo materials on activities conducted. Furthermore, the future involvement of PRD members into working teams for realization of certain PR-related activities which would be contribute to better informing and training of the members of both services.
Furthermore, Mark Wayda, PhD and his co-workers visited “Odbrana” Publishing Center and “Zastava Film” Military Film Center, where they talked with the representtives of these two institutions about the needs to share experiences and information via web sites, newspapers and other public information media.


Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac received the delegation of Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group led by Maj. Gen. Gregory Wayt. The meeting was also attended by the American Ambassador to Serbia Mr. Cameron Munter. Minister Sutanovac and General Wayt discussed of Serbia-USA bilateral military cooperation, agreeing that the priorities should be the education and specialization of our military officers in US.

Both sides agreed that good cooperation between Serbia and USA contributes to promoting general relations of both countries.

The ONG Special Forces team was led by Major Larry Henry. Parachutist and fire fighting training as well as the training in outdoor survival were conducted in 63rd parachutist battalion along with the training of Search and Rescue Team. As a result, both sides saw methods and contents of training which could be beneficial and applicabel in the two armies.

Joint exercise of the members of Special Forces

On 20 September the members of 63rd parachutist battalion of the Armed Forces of Serbia and the National Guard of Ohio demonstrated Joint Tactical Activities at the Nis air field. The training of Special Forces at the parachutist training ground and in hangar, the outdoor survival techniques and search and rescue procedures were closely observed by Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, US Ambassador to Serbia Cameron Munter, the Chief of SAF GS Lt. Gen. Zdravko Ponos and the Adjutant General Joint Force HQ of the Ohio National Guard Maj. Gen. Gregory Wayt and other guests.

In his address to the press following the exercise the Chief of SAF GS Lt. Gen. Zdravko Ponos announced that these activities would continue in the following year.

“The Ohio-Serbia State Partnership Program started a year ago, and to date Serbian Armed Forces and the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group have carried out a total of 21 activities-the exchange of small units, the development of NCO corps and the organization of reserve corps,” General Ponos said, reminding the guests that the first exercise was carried out in Ohio in June this year with 20 members of SAf as participants.

On this occasion, General Ponos reiterated that there was another Serbia-USA Agreement within IMET Program focusing on education and training, and that during previous months 16 members of our armed forces had been educated and trained in US.

“Our idea was to continue with the exchange of small units next year while at the same time connecting similar establishments such as NBCW and similar units within the State Partnership Program with Ohio”, General Ponos emphasized. “This year we have done so much more than other countries have done within their respective state partnership programs.”

The Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard Maj. Gen. Wayt thanked the hosts for their hospitality in the following words:

“When we first started with the realization of this Program, General Ponos and I set a goal-to make this partnership the best of all 56 partnerships the US have established with other countries. Now we can safely say that no other country has had such scope of activities as Ohio has conducted with Serbia. At this moment, the members of the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group are at the Nis air base where they are exchanging experiences with the members of Serbian 63rd parachutist battalion and studying from each other. And this is what we have actually done this year-we have studied from each other. I have taken 38 co-workers with me, who have shared their skills and knowledge in the fields of medical care, Public Relations and the work of Joint Operations Group, while making a plan of activities for the next year.

"This has truly been an historic week, and I'm really proud of it; I am proud of what we have achieved this year in the domain of units exchange and the overall State Partnership Program. In the previous year we forged so many friendships, which will last for a life time, just like me and General Ponos have become close friends.”

The Joint Training Drill was conducted in Nis from 16 to 19 September, with 34 members of SAF 63rd parachutist battalion and 17 ONG members as participants. During the training sessions the Nis battalion paratroopers explained the methodology of enabling personnel to operate personal weapons to their colleagues from Ohio, after which they performed exercise in shooting from automatic rifle and pistol. They also performed a static-line jump, while survival and search and rescue techniques were also shared. The estiamte of the members of the Ohio National Guard 19th Special Forces Group was that the work and training of 63rd parachutist battalion had been carried out at a high professional and military level.


Staff Sgt. Rob of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, leads a team of Special Forces Soldiers into an enemy building while testing a new laser collective combat advanced training system, June 16, at Camp Grayling, Mich. The LCCATS is a wireless based training system that reinforces marksmanship and tactical skills.
(Photographer: Spc. Sam Beavers : Ohio National Guard Public Affairs)

Master Sgt. Rod of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, uses hand signals to direct his Special Forces team while testing the new laser collective combat advanced training system, June 16, at Camp Grayling, Mich. The LCCATS is a wireless based training system that reinforces marksmanship and tactical skills.
(Photographer: Spc. Sam Beavers : Ohio National Guard Public Affairs)

Master Sgt. Rod of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, provides rear security as his Special Forces team clears a stairway, June 16, while testing a new laser collective combat advanced training system during annual training at Camp Grayling, Mich. The LCCATS is a wireless based training system that reinforces marksmanship and tactical skills.
(Photographer: Spc. Sam Beavers : Ohio National Guard Public Affairs)


We had a team from 19th SFG on my FOB during my last deployment in 06. Very professional group of guys. They conducted a 5-6 week rifle marksmanship course for my Iraqi policemen and it was instrumental in turning them into a viable and deadly force in our battlespace. Glad to see they're doing great things again.