Czech General visits US military installations

Autor: Oldrich Holecek

A week-long trip of Major General Miroslav Zizka, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Czech military, to the United States has brought a new impetus in cooperation with the US military both during foreign operations and development of joint and allied home programmes.

US CENTCOM, Tampa, Florida

During talks with Major General Karl R. Horst, Chief of Staff of the US Central Command located at the MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida, Major General Miroslav Zizka has received assurance of ongoing support from American forces to Czech units serving within NATO ISAF operation in Afghanistan.

Coalition in Afghanistan needs you

General Horst emphasized that future development in ISAF operation was in downsizing coalition troops and handing over security issues to the Afghan Security Forces. Yet, the time has not come to leave Afghanistan for good. General Zizka informed him about current Czech planning to prolong deployment of national units in ISAF for 2013 and 2014, even though possibly with less personnel and equipment.

The US Central Command Area of Responsibility includes nations with serious conflicts and security instability which, if not taken into account, could spread and influence the world in a negative way. The advisory Coalition Planning Group to this Command includes officers from other 57 countries, while Colonel Ales Vodehnal is its Czech Republic´s representative.

Secretary of State of Nebraska receives General Zizka

The first steps of General Miroslav Zizka in Nebraska were to meet with Nebraska Secretary of State John A. Gale. The Secretary was interested in life and service of Czech soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. He mentioned also a remarkable deed of Czech Staff Sergeant Michal Novotny, who had received a Bronze Star Medal, one of the highest US military award, for saving life of an American soldier following an incident during mine clearance operation in Logar, Afghanistan.

Visiting the Secretary of State, General Zizka was accompanied by Commander of the Nebraska National Guard Major General Judd Lyonse, who invited him to the State.

Nebraska National Guard

The major goal of the Czech visit to the Nebraska National Guard was to upgrade military cooperation. There are good professional relations of passive surveillance systems of both Czech Republic and Nebraska for many years, and this time, the topic is air-to-air refueling, the capacity recently newly acquired by Czech flown SAAB-39 Gripen supersonic aircraft.

Commander of the Nebraska Air National Guard Brigadier General Daryl Bohac informed the Czech General about structure and tasks of his headquarters and brought him to the 155th Air Refueling Wing and aboard KC-135 Stratotanker to demonstrate air-to-air refuelling practical training. Radio communication of "READY FOR THE CONTACT" - "CLEAR FOR THE CONTACT!" was heard six times during the demonstration of A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft refueling.

General Miroslav Zizka visited also the Nebraska Army National Guard training facility at Ashold, where at that time, the last certification training of some 300 specialists in clearance of improvised explosive devices was in process. Squad leaders - IED specialists - attended the Warriors Leaders Course.

Allied Command Transformation, Norfolk, Virginia

Deputy Chief of Staff of ACT Norvegian Major General John B. Lilland presented to General Zizka a new allied strategy of protection against explosive devices, the so called Contra Improvised Explosive Device programme. "This is one of our priorities and as soon as we get the whole material from your Command, we will actively enter the discussion on its implementation," General Zizka said.

At the end of his visit in the Allied Command Transformation, General Zizka met with Czech personnel serving with this allied strategic command and with the Training and Doctrines Command (TRADOC) to inform them about present situation in the Czech military and upcoming changes.

Posted: April 1, 2012