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Georgia ANG engages with Colombian Air Force

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Blessard, Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge, introduces himself to members of the Colombian Air Force during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept with the Georgia Air National Guard, May 30-June 2, 2017, at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Blessard, Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge, introduces himself to members of the Colombian Air Force during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept with the Georgia Air National Guard, May 30-June 2, 2017, at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Members of the Colombian Air Force discuss training plans for U.S. Air Force Controllers during a visit with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Members of the Colombian Air Force discuss training plans for U.S. Air Force Controllers during a visit with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Four Colombian Air Force officers attend a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force’s training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Four Colombian Air Force officers attend a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force’s training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Blessard, Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge, gives a tour to members of the Colombian Air Force during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017 at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Blessard, Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge, gives a tour to members of the Colombian Air Force during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017 at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Colombian Air Force Lt. Col. Jorge Ordonez (left) and Colombian Air Force Capt, Rodrigo Nunez look over Ground Control Intercept training manuals at the Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia May 30-June 2, 2017 during a State Partnership Program engagement with the South Carolina National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Colombian Air Force Lt. Col. Jorge Ordonez (left) and Colombian Air Force Capt, Rodrigo Nunez look over Ground Control Intercept training manuals at the Georgia Air National Guard 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia May 30-June 2, 2017 during a State Partnership Program engagement with the South Carolina National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Members of the Colombian Air Force discuss training plans for U.S. Air Force Controllers during a visit with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement.    (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

Members of the Colombian Air Force discuss training plans for U.S. Air Force Controllers during a visit with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 117th Air Control Squadron at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia during a State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange on Ground Control Intercept, May 30-June 2, 2017. During the weeklong engagement the Colombians worked with Air Controllers from 117th shaping Colombian Air Force training plans by pairing experts together to exchange ideas. The Georgia Air National Guard supported the South Carolina National Guard’s State Partnership Program during the engagement. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen D. Hudson)

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. -- The Georgia Air National Guard welcomed a group of visiting Colombian Air Force officers as part of a State Partnership Program engagement, May 30 - June 2, 2017. The weeklong exchange on Ground Control Intercept consisted of a tour of the unit and discussions with subject matter experts on how to improve the Colombian Air Force’s training plans for controllers.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Blessard, Georgia ANG 117th Air Control Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge, hosted the Colombians during the engagement, spending the week answering questions and going over training plans and standards. The goal was to show the controllers from Colombia how the U. S. Air Force transforms an Airman fresh from initial training into a mission-ready controller trained to provide air-ground communication in a combat zone.

“It’s critical that our tactical abilities align, so these engagements are extremely important,” Blessard said. “A lot of the engagement was focused on U.S. standards, and how do we make someone a controller.”

He added, the week’s work focused on sharpening and improving the Colombian Air Force’s training plans.

Colombian Air Force Capt. Roridgo Nunez, Air Combat Command No. 7 instructor in Cali, Colombia, said the team met their goals to improve their training plans during the engagement.

“The most useful thing was how to build our air defense training school,” Nunez said. “Coming to the U.S. was a good experience for us...And we made some new friends.”

Nunez added when he returns to Colombia, there is a lot of work to do to improve the squadron’s training syllabus to mirror the U.S. Air Force’s plan of continuous training for new Airmen.

Prior to the team departing, plans were under way for Blessard and another teammate to travel to Colombia to take a deeper look at the Colombian Air Force’s training plans.

Since its launch in 2012, the South Carolina National Guard state partnership with the Republic of Colombia, has focused on establishing long-term relationships where Colombia and South Carolina can promote mutual interests and build lasting capabilities.

The National Guard’s SPP is uniquely qualified to connect experts together for information sharing and exchanging ideas. The Georgia ANG has supported the South Carolina National Guard’s SPP in the Ground Control Intercept line of effort, pairing experts from the 117th ACS with Colombian Air Force controllers.

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