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News | Feb. 14, 2024

South Carolina Guard Comes to Aid of Partner Colombia

By South Carolina National Guard,

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina National Guard is assisting Colombia, its State Partnership Program partner, in dealing with dozens of wildfires.

To help emergency responders battle as many as 30 active fires in and around Bogota in late January, the South Carolina National Guard loaned Colombia multiple helicopter buckets. 

“We are sorry our friends and state partners are experiencing significant fires this year impacting cities like Bogota,” said Maj. Gen. R. Van McCarty, adjutant general of South Carolina. “The South Carolina National Guard stands committed to assist Colombia with helicopter buckets, which are an invaluable fire-retardant tool."

The helicopter buckets on loan to the Republic of Colombia can transport 700 gallons of water to drop on fire areas. 

The equipment loan is just a recent example of the success of the partnership between the South Carolina National Guard and Colombia, which began in 2012.

“The State Partnership Program is about supporting the development of capabilities,” said South Carolina Air National Guard Lt. Col. Daniel O. Linkroum, who directs the SPP program with Colombia. “It was satisfying to get a call to support an immediate need and be able to respond with resources in short order. It reaffirms the South Carolina National Guard’s commitment to our partner nation."

This effort has been years in the making, supported and sourced by the Civil Affairs and Humanitarian Assistance Directorate at U.S. Southern Command.

The Department of Defense State Partnership Program is a cooperative military-to-military exchange administered by the National Guard Bureau. It facilitates cooperation between U.S. National Guard units and foreign allies. 

The program began in 1993 and has grown to include 100 nations.