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NEWS | March 14, 2024

RTI instructors conduct infantry tactics exchange in Tajikistan

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fort Barfoot-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute conducted an infantry tactics exchange with soldiers from the Republic of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Defense Peacekeeping Battalion March 3 - 8, 2024, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The exchange was conducted in support of the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program, in which Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.  

Sgt. 1st Class John Fracker, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Cook and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Donovan conducted the exchange with the Tajik forces. According to Maj. Isaac Rivera, the VNG State Partnership Program director, the group discussed hand and arm signals, as well as military operations in urban terrain and the operations order process. 

“The exchange culminated with a filed training exercise, where the Soldiers put to test all their skills at a military operation on urbanized terrain site,” said Rivera. “The VNG Soldiers shared their ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajik partners.”

Fracker, Cook and Donovan were able to share their impressive combined experiences with the Tajik soldiers. 

“Together the three RTI instructors brought decades-worth of experience, six combat deployments and insight into the exchange,” said Rivera. 

The exchange was part of a series of exchanges focused on infantry tactics. River said that series is scheduled to continue in May 2024, when the Tajik forces’ top performers are slated to travel to Fort Barfoot to train alongside VNG infantry Soldiers. 

In July 2023, the VNG and Tajikistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of their formal partnership in the State Partnership Program, which itself just celebrated its 30-year anniversary. The relationship has benefitted all parties, from sharing subject matter expertise throughout 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staffs and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.

Read more about the State Partnership Program at

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