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Thunderbirds to Recognize 100 Years of U.S.-Latvia Diplomatic Relations at Battle Creek Air Show

LANSING, Mich. – The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will recognize the 100th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of Latvia during their performance July 2 at the Field of Flight Airshow in Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Latvia is today an important NATO ally in the Baltic Region. Latvia won its independence from the Russian Empire in 1918 and the United States established diplomatic relations with Latvia on July 28, 1922.  The United States never recognized the U.S.S.R.’s brutal occupation and forcible annexation of Latvia in 1940. The people of Latvia restored their independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed. Michigan and Latvia have particularly close ties, as Michigan has one of the largest Latvian-American populations in the country and, since 1993, a rich defense cooperation under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. 

“Michigan is proud of its close relationship with Latvia, which has shown its value not only though numerous combined deployments, training exercises and initiatives under the State Partnership Program, but also in the rich Latvian-American community that calls Michigan home,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We could not be more grateful to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds for paying tribute to our Latvian allies for their partnership, courage, and zeal for freedom in such a spectacular and meaningful way.” 

Prior to the Thunderbirds’ July 2 performance, a spoken prelude will dedicate their demonstration to the longstanding alliance between the United States and Latvia.  Several high-level civil and military leaders from Latvia are expected to be in attendance, including Mr. Maris Selga, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S., and Maj. Gen. Andis Dilans, Latvian Defense Attaché to the U.S.

For more information please contact the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs office at 517-940-0081 or