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A decade of partnership
A joint color guard marches during the opening of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing 10-year anniversary ceremony Dec.21, 2011, at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. The ceremony honored a decade of partnership between the U.S. and Kyrgyz Republic in support of international efforts in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angela Ruiz)
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U.S. honors 10- year partnership with Kyrgyz Republic

Posted 12/23/2011   Updated 12/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/23/2011 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan  -- A ceremony honoring 10 years of partnership between the United States and Kyrgyz Republic in support of international efforts in Afghanistan took place here Dec. 21.

More than 300 men and women from the Transit Center and distinguished Kyrgyz guests attended to hear about improvements that have been made since the opening of the installation and watch performances by a joint color guard and Kyrgyz folk singers.

The first speaker was Kyrgyz Republic Col. Suerkulov Kazakbaevich, Minister of Defense first deputy.

"I want to extend my appreciation to the men and women here at the Transit Center at Manas; unity is our friend," Kazabaevich said.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic Pamela Spratlen also shared her words of thanks.

"It is a great honor to be here and see all of you who are serving your countries; you are the ones defending and protecting us," said Spratlen. "I want to express my appreciation to you all."

"I'm honored to celebrate the continued partnership between the U.S. and the Kyrgyz Republic. This is a special day on which we commemorate our many achievements and look forward to our future of cooperation," said Lt. Gen. Goldfein, U.S. Air Forces Central Commander.

Lt. Gen. (retired) Christopher Kelly, the first commander of the 376th AEW talked about the first day he arrived at the Transit Center.

"From the moment I got off the plane, I knew my life would change forever," he said.

Kelly went on to describe how he was escorted downtown to a meeting at the U.S. Embassy. The meeting, he explained, was the very first step in establishing a close working relationship with the ambassador and the country team, the type of relationship that has endured today.

"From the very moment we arrived, we all knew that we would become a part of what was to be the very enduring partnership between our nations," Kelly said. "The 376th AEW has played a huge role in the relationship between the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States of America."

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