By (Courtesy article)
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - Brig. Gen. Modestas Petrauskas, the new defense attaché at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, D.C., visited the Pennsylvania National Guard Sept. 28, to continue building upon the long-standing relationship between the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the PNG.
This was Petrauskas’ first visit to Pennsylvania, as COVID-19 restrictions prevented additional travel since he took his post earlier this year. Lt. Col. Gražvydas Liubinas, deputy defense attaché, accompanied him on the trip.
Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general, was eager to host Petrauskas, stating multiple times how excellent the relationship with Lithuania has been and how beneficial the program has been to both sides.
Petrauskas reflected on the 27-year history between his military and the PNG, which he frequently witnessed while in Lithuania.
“It’s hard to find a line of effort in the development of Lithuanian Armed Forces where there isn’t a foot print of the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Petrauskas.
Between briefs by Maj. Kenneth Swartzell, the PNG State Partnership Program director, the senior leaders discussed several past exercises between the two military organizations and the many beneficial experiences each side received. As of this year, nearly 700 engagements have been completed between the PNG and Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Dozens of engagements are planned for next year, and Lithuanian Soldiers will be joining the 28th Infantry Division for the division's War Fighter Exercise in November. These large exercises are designed to help develop commanders and their staff at brigade, division and corps levels. This will be the first time the division will include their international counterparts in the exercise.
The U.S. and Lithuania are strategic allies, and their partnership was one of the first three State Partnership Programs established.
“Lithuania is eager to invest in and host U.S. forces including the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Petrauskas.
Petrauskas closed out the meeting stating, “It’s a pleasure and let’s keep moving forward.”