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​USAF Lt. Col. Peter Michaelson, flight surgeon with the 178th Wing Medical Group, examines a patient during a combined medical engagement in Vrtogos, Serbia, Sept. 9, 2016. Air National Guard photo by SrA. Wendy Kuhn.

​Serbia may seem an unlikely pathway to Angola, but for 25 medics from the Ohio Army and Air National Guard, it was exactly that. From Sept. 4-17, the Guardsmen participated in a combined medical engagement (CME) in Serbia that also served as an occasion to build relationships with Angolan servicemen, according to a press release. Medical crews made up of the Guardsmen, Serbian medics, and Angolan observers provided a full range of medical services in villages throughout southeast Serbia, performing more than 3,300 examinations on 1,890 patients. Some of the patients were receiving medical care for the first time in their lives. The mission cemented ongoing ties between the Ohio National Guard and Serbia as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program. Because the Serbian and Angolan militaries have an existing relationship, the CME also served as a prototype of the sort of humanitarian mission that US forces could perform in Angola.