By Whitney Humphrey
Last week, two members of the West Virginia National Guard helped prepare members of the Peruvian Army and Marine Corps for a global peacekeeping mission as part of the ongoing relationship between West Virginia and Peru through the State Partnership Program, in Lima, Peru.
Staff Sgt. Robert Riggott, WVNG Maintenance Director, and Capt. Joseph Reppert, SPP Coordinator, travelled to Lima to provide Mechanics Mobile Training Team, Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, and Driver’s Training to members of the Peruvian Armed Forces on the M1165 HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), which the Peruvians will use to support its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.
“The West Virginia National Guard is able to continuously provide this resource in the form of a low-cost, high-yield training to support the Peruvian military, US Southern Command, the Global Peace Operations Initiative, and the United Nations mission,” Reppert said.
Peru’s presence in the Central African Republic dates to 2014, after the removal of then-President Francois Bozize resulted in religiously motivated violence. As of May 2020, Peru had more than 215 personnel assigned to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, with missions as diverse as clearing terrain, airfield and heliport construction, equipment transportation and convoy operations including food and water supplies, communications, intelligence, as well as legal and medical operations
Riggott said the specific training provided by the WVNG during this recent trip is particularly valuable to the Peruvian military because the HMMWV is not part of its typical fleet but is necessary in its peacekeeping operations.
“We are pleased we’re able to take our experiences with this light-weight, durable vehicle and pass that knowledge on to our partners in Peru,” Riggott said. “This is the third time we’ve been able to provide this training to the Peruvian military, and we are proud to support their peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.”
West Virginia and Peru have a more than 20-year history of partnership and collaboration through the SPP whose goal is to encourage people-to-people ties at the state level. Each year, Peru and West Virginia hold multiple engagements in support of defense security goals that leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.