Kansas adjutant general visits multinational training team, MES firefighters

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general of Kansas, was among the dignitaries to visit the Shirak Province of Armenia recently.

Tafanelli, who commands the Kansas National Guard, met with the joint, multinational team of medical and hazmat experts who have been training with Armenian firefighters since July 18.

The instruction is led by Kansas Army National Guard Soldiers and soldiers of the 6th Rifles Battalion, Royal Army Medical Corps, United Kingdom.

The training, conducted at seven fire rescue stations across the Shirak Province, has been focused on advanced first-aid, life-saving techniques and hazardous material awareness, recognition and response.

“This training exchange has been a year in the making,” said Maj. Donald Harper, a Kansas Air National Guard member who serves as the bilateral affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia.

Harper identified Armenian fire rescue stations as a target area to strengthen and enhance capabilities, specifically in life saving and hazmat response.

The Kansas Guardsmen and British soldiers have worked together as a team, and Harper said he was happy with the rapid cohesion they formed and the training they delivered. This military-to-humanitarian outreach event is the first of its kind in the 14-year partnership between the KSNG and Armenia.

“We’re excited to broaden our strong relationship with the Republic of Armenia, and with the excellent training conducted by this team,” said Harper. “I believe we have done just that.”