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Slovenian military leaders 1st visit to Aviano AB

A Slovenian Armed Forces leader climbs up to the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

A Slovenian Armed Forces leader climbs up to the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The Slovenian Armed Forces key leaders visit helped lay the foundation for better training possibilities in the future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Nelson, 31st Operations Group commander, talks with a Slovenian Armed Forces leader about communication equipment, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Nelson, 31st Operations Group commander, talks with a Slovenian Armed Forces leader about communication equipment, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. 31st Fighter Wing leadership accompanied the Slovenian military leaders on their tour of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Sommer Giron)

Slovenian Armed Forces leaders tour an F-16 Fighting Falcon, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Slovenian Armed Forces leaders tour an F-16 Fighting Falcon, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The visit familiarized Slovenian military leaders with the 31st Fighter Wing mission in order to strengthen U.S. and Slovenian relations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Sommer Giron)

A Slovenian Armed Forces leader sees an F-16 Fighting Falcon cockpit, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

A Slovenian Armed Forces leader sees an F-16 Fighting Falcon cockpit, Jan. 22, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Static displays were created highlighting the 31st Fighter Wing’s combat capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Sommer Giron)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

Slovenian Armed Forces leaders visited Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 22, 2019.

The visit familiarized Slovenian military leaders with the 31st Fighter Wing mission in order to strengthen the U.S. and Slovenian partnership.

“The willingness of our Slovenian counterparts to visit Aviano and continue the discussions of shared military training opportunities is crucial to the success of those efforts,” said Col. Richard Nelson, 31st Operations Group commander. “The Slovenian Armed Forces contingent brought experts from across their force who were ready and willing to discuss specific engagement and training opportunities between the forces of our countries.”

The visit was the first time ever that Slovenian Armed Forces leaders visited the base.

The base tour included static displays highlighting the wing’s combat capabilities. Each display included a subject matter expert briefing leaders on their equipment’s capabilities and use.

“It’s useful to see all this stuff in real life, first of all to know the people behind the equipment and to speak with them,” said Slovenian Army Col. Dean Groff. “I’m really grateful for that.”

Local training can be conducted within 150 to 200 miles from Aviano. This area extends into Slovenia due to its proximity to Italy.

“It’s crucial that we pursue all training opportunities and locations to ensure we are ready to execute our mission sets anywhere in the world,” said Nelson. “It’s also important for us to interact with Slovenia as one of our NATO allies.”

The visit helped lay the foundation for better training possibilities, on both sides, in the future.