The senior chaplain assigned to the Massachusetts National Guard visited Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and Kenya April 25-28, highlighting one of the National Guard’s lesser-known missions, building enduring partnerships through its State Partnership Program.
U.S. Army Col. Paul Minor met with his Soldiers deployed to CJTF HOA and visited Kenya, which is Massachusetts’ assigned country under the State Partnership Program. U.S. forces are in Kenya at the invitation of the Kenyan government. They operate in a close partnership with and hosted by Kenyan military facilities.
“We are here to share and learn best practices with our religious partners,” said Minor. “We aren’t here to presume we have things to teach, but rather things we can learn and ideas we can exchange.”
Kenya is one of thirteen countries paired with National Guard units in the U.S., and while this is the first religious affairs exchange in Kenya, Minor stressed that he has worked with other states and their religious partnership programs and has been impressed with the success; so he is confident he can develop relationships with his Kenyan counterparts.
“We are not just here to meet,” said Minor. “We are here to build connections, so there isn’t just an email or phone call to discuss skills and ideas. Anytime you can expand your network of support, you are gaining something to improve your ability to support other people.”