FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were the first to receive a new joint state ribbon recognizing service with the State Partnership Program (SPP) in a ceremony at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Kentucky on April 13, 2023.
As of the ceremony, 34 Soldiers and Airmen qualified for the new ribbon and those present were awarded their orders for record and the official ribbon.
“It is important that we, as Kentuckians, begin to recognize the people who volunteer to go on these missions because that is how we form the relationships with the militaries of Ecuador and Djibouti,” said Army Lt. Col. Daniel Cooper, the program director for the Kentucky National Guard SPP. “With this ribbon, we can get more of our troops talking about the program and know how it makes a difference.”
The new ribbon, the Kentucky State Partnership Program Ribbon, was created to honor Soldiers and Airmen who enhance military-to-military relationships in subject matter expert engagement with one of Kentucky’s partner nations, Ecuador and Djibouti.
“When we go to these countries, we do a pay-it-back program,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. David Mounkes, the Kentucky Air National Guard deputy adjutant general. “All participants receive something for working together. Our adversaries don’t do that when they go to these countries. We are long term partners in these countries.”
Mounkes added that the SPP is a big part of the National Guard’s global defensive mission right now and a major part of the chief of the National Guard Bureau’s agenda.
“These long-term relationships that we do, that’s the goal of the whole program,” said Mounkes.
Authorization for qualifying for the Kentucky SPP ribbon began on Oct. 1, 2022. Soldiers and Airmen who serve with the SPP in either country will be awarded the ribbon upon their return by memorandum approved by the Kentucky SPP director.
The ribbon has a yellow center with a thin red, white, and red bar on either side. Green bars are on the outside of both sides of the ribbon.
The ribbon is only awarded once, and subsequent periods of qualifying service are not recognized with additional appurtenances.