On 21 September, a delegation from the Pennsylvania National Guard (PANG) NCO corps headed by Command Sergeant Major Michael Gundrum paid a visit to the headquarters of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Force (NDVF).
Leadership of Pennsylvania National Guard NCO corps in Lithuania. Photo KAM

Leaders of the PANG NCO corps met with Commander NDVF Lieutenant Colonel Artūras Jasinskas, listened to a presentation on hostile information operations campaigns in Lithuania, and familiarised with developments in the organisation and military training of the National Defence Volunteer Force, the Armed Forces reports.

"I am very satisfied with successfully developed cooperation between the Lithuanian Volunteer Force and PANG, volunteer soldiers of the Lithuanian NDVF train in cooperative exercises with PANG personnel ever year," Command Sgt. Maj. Gundrum said at the meeting with commander NDFV.

Command Sgt. Maj. Gundrum also asked commander NDVF about topical issues of increasing the volunteer force in Lithuania and shared experience on recruiting and maintaining volunteer personnel for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Later on the PANG delegation met with sergeant majors of NDFV territorial units, discussed training, selection, rotations, and conditions of appointments of soldiers and NCOs, and the role of sergeant majors during command post exercises and field training exercises.

NDVF Command Sgt. Maj. Darius Masiulis responsible for the organisation of the PANG delegation's visit says that there are numerous international projects implemented successfully in our forces thanks to Command Sgt. Maj. Gundrum. "Command Sgt. Maj. Gundrum is a soldier and has deep knowledge of the topical issues of training NDVF military personnel, he is giving it his attention all the time and thus all joint international projects come to a successful conclusion," he said.

Commander NDVF Lt. Col. Jasinskas expressed his delight about 6 new NDFV companies about to be re-established and underscored that his current goal was to find ways to appropriately motivate volunteers and to retain seasoned soldiers as long as possible, and encouraged professional soldiers and draftees after completing the Mandatory Continuous Military Service to join the lines of the NDVF. Command Sgt. Maj. Gundrum underlined that the current state of affairs of motivating and recruiting Lithuanian volunteers considerably resembles that in the Pennsylvania National Guard.

"Why does a professional US soldier prefer the Pennsylvania National Guard to regular army when his service contract signed for several years ends? It is a simple logic: natives of the State of Pennsylvania choose the Pennsylvania National Guard: the soldier does not have to serve in a faraway base, he lives in his home state, has a civilian job and trains in weekend exercises as a volunteer soldier. Pennsylvania guardsmen can choose whether they want to deploy to hotspots. So a reserve soldier further employs his professional skills and serves his Motherland according to a more flexible schedule, if you can call it that way," he said.

The PANG delegations have already made visits this week to the Lithuanian Land Force HQ, on 22 September they visited the NCO School and the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, and on 23 September the delegation observed Exercise King's Strike 2015 in the Hussar Battalion.

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