A ceremony marking the formal beginning of a partnership between the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Austria will occur at 2 p.m. on May 11.
The ceremony at the Vermont State House will include remarks from leaders of the Vermont National Guard, Republic of Austria, State of Vermont and U.S. State Department.
“Vermont and Austria already share many economic and cultural ties,” said Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. “This exciting new partnership will strengthen our relationship, and I know it will be of great benefit to all involved.”
The National Guard’s State Partnership Program began in 1993 and has grown to include more than 90 countries connected to respective state National Guards. Austria is now the third partner for Vermont.
“Vermont has leaned into the State Partnership Program from the beginning,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont adjutant general. “We began with North Macedonia in 1993 and added Senegal in 2008. The real benefit of these partnerships is in the person-to-person relationships that begin during the many military engagements we conduct each year and evolve over the course of careers.”
Austria and Vermont have a long relationship that extends beyond the Von Trapp’s emigration to Vermont during World War II, a journey made famous by the 1965 film, “The Sound of Music.” For more than 30 years, the Vermont National Guard’s Army Mountain Warfare School, U.S. Army Biathlon Program and the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) have partnered with their military counterparts in Austria.
In addition to shared mountain expertise, the Vermont National Guard has performed trilateral events with Senegal and Austria for almost a decade through the Physical Security and Stockpile Management Program, focused on safe storage and disposal of expired munitions. This program is designed to train and mentor partner countries and prevent disasters like the one experienced in Beirut in 2020.
The U.S. State Department announced the partnership between Austria and the Vermont National Guard on Oct. 15, 2021.