Legal Team partakes in Missouri State Partnership Program
By Senior Airman April Bachler, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published March 17, 2010
St. Joseph, Mo. -- Members of the 139th Airlift Wing continue to partake in the exchange of information with Panama as part of the Missouri State Partnership Program which builds relationships with U.S. allies.
Recently, a joint group consisting of Airmen and Soldiers from Missouri participated in a judicial exchange discussing various legal topics and structures of the U.S. and Panama.
Capt. Andrew Bauch, deputy judge advocate, and Master Sgt. Carla Craig, law office superintendent, participated in the exchange as well as Master Sgt. Todd Cantwell who served as a translator.
The U.S. group spoke on the political and military structure of the U.S. and criminal investiga-tions in the state system. Investigative techniques and procedures in drug and murder cases were addressed as well as the Missouri Counterdrug Program.
"We were able to introduce them to the ways our police, military and judicial systems work and they introduced us to theirs - explaining to us more fully how they operate without a military force and only a National Police Force," said Master Sgt. Carla Craig, law office superintendent.
In turn, the Panamanian group presented an overview of their ministry of government and justice, their judicial investigative service, as well as their aerial and naval military services. The Security and Frontier Service, which serves as a national police to protect Panama's border, was also part of the discussion.
"It was very interesting to find out that their National Police attorneys rotate into 'the field' the same as any other police force individual. The attorneys pull the same 30-day rotations protecting the border between Panama and Columbia as all other police force which is a very dangerous task," Craig said.
The joint group was invited to tour the Ministry of Interior and Justice with the director of the Office of Institutional Development.
"It was an amazing tour and we were introduced to many people to include the Vice-minister of Public Safety. After our tour, the director invited us to his office where his staff had cooked us a traditional Panamanian meal for lunch," Craig said.
The 139th Airlift Wing continues to support the program and is scheduled to send a team to the upcoming exchanges involving combat lifesaving and operating procedures for hazardous materials.
Again, Cantwell will act as an interpreter for this team which includes members from the Medical Group.
Capt. Joseph Lembke, clinical nurse, will be demonstrating CPR during the combat life saving exchange. This is his second rotation to Panama as part of the State Partnership Program.
"This is a great opportunity to go down there to exchange information regarding medical issues and health care and to see their cultural and their operations," Lembke said. "The program brings cultural diversity between Missouri and Panama."
Tech. Sgt. Aaron Snider, lab technician, is scheduled to be the subject matter expert for presenting operating procedures for hazardous materials.
"With the world situation as it is, you don't know when we may need to call for assistance to work things out," said Cantwell.