NEWS | Jan. 8, 2016

Setting the tone for hope

By Staff Sgt. Manda Walters Colorado National Guard

DENVER – As snowflakes fall in the bustling metro area, a unique group of warriors gathered at the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab in downtown Denver, Jan. 8.  

"As a global community, working together is absolutely essential," Grace Sullivan, visitor services coordinator at CELL said, of the visit by Colorado National Guard's State Partnership Program, now in its 12th year of collaboration with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. "It's empowering to know what our armed forces are doing to work toward a better future." 

The SPP delegation shared Sullivan's optimism while guided through the sobering history of terrorism throughout the world.  

These warriors, trained in the production of publications and media, are building cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships, which set a tone for hope in the global fight against terrorism, said Air National Guard Maj. Darin Overstreet, chief of community outreach for the Colorado National Guard.  

"We are friends, we are brothers in arms and we all have the same mission," said Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, public affairs noncommissioned officer in charge at the 100th Missile Defense Brigade in Colorado Springs, Colo.  

The mission of telling the story of service members through print and broadcast media is the same for U.S. military public affairs units and the Jordan Armed Forces Directorate of Morale Guidance, explained Crane. 

These stories and videos build morale and support for fighting the enemy, he added. 

"The SPP makes you aware that it's not just us in America doing this fight, we're not the only ones fighting this battle," added Crane. "It really opens your eyes to the world around you, it makes your world just a little bit bigger and helps you understand." 

JAF DMG director of video production, Lt. Saif Allah Ali Khalf, said he sees many similarities between Colorado and Jordan, and he is taking something back to Jordan too.  

"After seeing the Colorado National Guard website, I have many ideas about how to engage Jordanians and increase number of likes and shares on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube," said Khalf. 

"I hope to continue this partnership into the future, god willing, added Khalf. 

In addition to visiting the CELL, the Jordanian delegation also observed tactical planning and implementation of the Colorado National Guard's blizzard emergency response exercise during their five-day stay, Jan. 5 to 11.  

Colorado National Guard's public affairs service members are slated to visit Jordan in May.  

The Colorado National Guard has two State Partnership countries, the Republic of Slovenia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and is one of only 17 states with more than one partnership and the only state with a partner country in the Levant region of the Middle East.