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Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, thanks members of the Panamanian Air and Naval Service for their efforts at the Conference of the American Air Chiefs (CONJEFAMER, per its Spanish acronym) June 20, 2018 at Panama City, Panama. Air force leaders from 19 nations in North and South America attended this year's event, which was hosted by the Panamanian Air and Naval Service in Panama City. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

U.S. Air Force Col. David Delmonaco, System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces secretary general, speaks with Jamaica Chief of Defence Staff Maj. Gen. Rocky Meade at CONJEFAMER in Panama City, Panama, June 19, 2018. At this year's conference, Jamaica became the 21st voting member nation of SICOFAA, further cementing the organization’s presence in the Caribbean. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, speaks to the council of air force leaders from 19 nations in North and South America at CONJEFAMER in Panama City, Panama June 19, 2018. Air force leaders from 19 nations in the Western Hemisphere convened June 18-22, 2018 to build partnerships, discuss their collective mission and vision, and plan future exercises, continuing a 50-plus year history of cooperation and goodwill across the Americas. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

Argentine Air Force Brig. Gen. Enrique Amrein, chief of staff, speaks to the council of air force leaders from 19 nations in North and South America at CONJEFAMER June 19, 2018 in Panama City, Panama. At the annual meeting, these "unidos aliados," or united, allied nations, continue a 50-plus year history of goodwill and cooperation across the Americas. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

Chilean Gen. Jorge Robles Mella, Chilean Air Force commander, speaks to the council at CONJEFAMER June 19, 2018 in Panama City, Panama. Air force leaders from 19 SICOFAA member nations in North and South America convened June 18-22, to build partnerships, discuss their collective mission and vision, and plan future exercises, strengthening cooperation in the region. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

Peruvian Gen. Javier E. Ramírez, Peruvian Air Force commander, speaks to the council of air force leaders from 19 nations in North and South America at CONJEFAMER June 19, 2018 in Panama City, Panama. At the annual meeting, these "unidos aliados," or united, allied nations, continue a 50-plus year history of goodwill and cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

U.S. Air Force Col. David Delmonaco, System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces secretary general, speaks to the council at CONJEFAMER June 19, 2018 in Panama City, Panama. Delmonaco will administratively lead the organization from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., promoting exchange of experiences, knowledge and training to strengthen partnerships among air forces in North and South America. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

Air Force leaders from 19 nations in the Western Hemisphere met in Panama City, Panama, June 19,2018 for the 58th Conference of American Air Chiefs (CONJEFAMER, per its Spanish acronym). At the annual meeting, these unidos aliados, or united, allied nations, build partnerships, discuss their collective mission and vision, and plan future exercises, continuing a 50-plus year history of cooperation and goodwill across the Americas. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, thanks a Panamanian service member for her efforts at the Conference of the American Air Chiefs (CONJEFAMER, per its Spanish acronym) June 20, 2018. Nineteen SICOFAA member nations from North and South America attended this year's event, which was hosted by the Panamanian Air and Naval Service in Panama City. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

Air chiefs from across the Americas convene in Panama City to promote cooperation
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U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, listens during presentations at CONJEFAMER in Panama City, Panama June 20, 2018. Air force leaders from North and South America meet annually at the conference to promote exchange of experiences, knowledge and training to strengthen partnerships in the region. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Stephanie Schonberger)

PANAMA CITY — Air force leaders from 19 nations in the Western Hemisphere met in Panama City June 18-22 for the 58th Conference of American Air Chiefs (CONJEFAMER, per its Spanish acronym).  At the annual meeting, these unidos aliados, or united, allied nations, build partnerships among air forces, discuss their collective mission and vision, and plan future exercises, continuing a 50-plus year history of cooperation and goodwill across the Americas.

 

The System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA), the conference’s sponsoring organization, was established in 1961 and promotes the exchange of experiences, knowledge and training among member nations to strengthen cooperative capabilities in North and South America.  One of SICOFAA’s most visible and impactful roles is Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR).

 

“These conferences are of great strategic importance because they coordinate, in a precise way, humanitarian aid in cases of natural disasters. The system integrates capabilities, communications and the vital human resources that we have in each country to assist during humanitarian disasters,” said Gen. Carlos Eduardo Bueno, Colombian Air Force commander.

 

The frequency of natural disasters is increasing, thus HA/DR is a 24/7/365 concern that requires constant vigilance, and no nation, including the U.S., has the resources or capability to handle a large scale response alone, said Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, who represented the U.S. Air Force at the conference.

 

“When a nation is hit with a natural disaster they are the least capable of and most responsible for handling their own internal affairs,” he said.

 

Much of the value of CONJEFAMER comes from the relationships built among air chiefs that makes cooperation easier when a rapid response is needed.  “The fact that our air forces work together and that the air chiefs know each other and train together makes it possible to respond quicker and more effectively,” Kelly said.

 

At the conference, the group recapped its HA/DR missions from the past year, including responses to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the earthquake in central Mexico in September 2017, and massive flooding in Peru in addition to the ongoing response to the eruption of the Volcán de Fuego volcano in Guatemala that began June 3.

 

It is via these response operations that they most powerfully impact the people of the Americas. “Through SICOFAA, the air forces all over the region maintain the ability to integrate their communication in order to prioritize the best way to help the people in most need,” said Gen. Jorge Robles Mella, commander-in-chief of the Chilean Air Force.

 

This year, the council voted to move Jamaica from an observing nation to a voting member, making them the 21st member nation of SICOFAA and further cementing the organization’s presence in the Caribbean. 

 

“I’m very humbled and honored that the members saw it fit to add us to this organization,” said Jamaica Chief of Defence Staff Maj. Gen. Rocky Meade.  He said his country’s membership means the most in their ability to play a role in HA/DR and that it will give Jamaica future opportunities to call on SICOFAA collectively, rather than nations individually, for support following a natural disaster.

 

Despite having vastly different populations, geographies, climates, cultures and resources, the 21 member nations share a common desire to keep improving their ability to quickly integrate forces and respond to contingencies, suggesting the organization will continue to thrive.

 

“My vision for the future of SICOFAA is that we as member nations can reach an understanding much faster. When it is necessary for us to act in response to whatever possibility, the response will be that much faster, more fluid and more timely,” said Divisional Gen. Miguel Enrique Vallín, Mexican Air Force commander.

 

A similar conviction was echoed by other commanders.  “The vision of SICOFAA is clear, to remain united. Every time I attend this meeting, there are always innovative initiatives, but the secret is maintaining friendships and building lines of communication so organizations like SICOFAA will be here for many years to come,” Bueno said.

 

Long-term, Lt. Gen. Kelly suggested forming a standing HA/DR joint task force that is continuously ready to rapidly deploy forces following a natural disaster, further reducing response times.

 

The prevailing theme evident at this year’s event in Panama was partnership – mutual support and cooperation among the nations of the Americas to amplify their collective capabilities.

 

“The 21 air forces gathered here are acting to benefit each and every one of our citizens. Like our motto, ‘United, Allied,’ we are all for one and one for all,” said Gen. Luis Eduardo Ruiz, vice commander of the National Air and Naval Service of Panama.

 

SICOFAA holds the conference in a different nation each year. Last year, leaders met in Natal, Brazil, and next year they will convene in San Salvador, El Salvador, with the event co-hosted by the U.S. and El Salvador.  In addition to the countries represented by the aforementioned air chiefs, this year's attendees were Canada, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

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Today we said farewell to Colonel Eric Cólen Guedes, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Brazilian Air Force Liaison Officer. Colonel Cólen received a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his work as a crucial link between 12th Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force. Our Liaison Officers play a critical role in strengthening ties between 12th Air Force and our partner nation air forces. We thank Colonel Cólen for his hard work and wish him luck as he moves on to his next assignment! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Força Aérea Brasileira
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Colombian Kfirs fighters train with the A-10, F-16
Always Ready to Defend! 24/7/365 🇺🇸
A true honor to work with our Partner Nation! #partnership
Check out the view from inside a Colombian Air Force refueling tanker as it performs an in-air refueling mission in the skies above Tucson, Arizona! Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3. This week has been another great example of how the U.S. and partner nation air forces train together to accomplish shared goals. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Wow! What a sight to see! Fuerza Aérea Colombiana #Kfir aircraft preparing for #RedFlag 18-3! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base Air Combat Command
Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3! Check out our video from a Colombian 767 as the aircrew performs an in-air refueling of 3 Colombian Air Force Kfir fighters! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
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Today we said farewell to Colonel Eric Cólen Guedes, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Brazilian Air Force Liaison Officer. Colonel Cólen received a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his work as a crucial link between 12th Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force. Our Liaison Officers play a critical role in strengthening ties between 12th Air Force and our partner nation air forces. We thank Colonel Cólen for his hard work and wish him luck as he moves on to his next assignment! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Força Aérea Brasileira
Check out this live shot of the Colombians training and flying here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander met with Colombian Air Force Brig. Gen. Pablo Enrique Garcia Valencia! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🤝
The Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana has sent their finest Kfir team to participate in Red Flag 18-3! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🚩🎉 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base
Here's your chance to meet some of our Partner Nation Colombian Airmen! #RedFlag2018 🚩 🇺🇸🇨🇴
We’d like to give a 🔥warm 🤗 welcome to the members of the Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana who arrived today at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona! They will train with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3!🚩️🇺🇸🇨🇴️ U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Air Combat Command Nellis Air Force Base
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Colombian Kfirs fighters train with the A-10, F-16
Always Ready to Defend! 24/7/365 🇺🇸
A true honor to work with our Partner Nation! #partnership
Check out the view from inside a Colombian Air Force refueling tanker as it performs an in-air refueling mission in the skies above Tucson, Arizona! Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3. This week has been another great example of how the U.S. and partner nation air forces train together to accomplish shared goals. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Wow! What a sight to see! Fuerza Aérea Colombiana #Kfir aircraft preparing for #RedFlag 18-3! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base Air Combat Command
Members of the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana are training this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3! Check out our video from a Colombian 767 as the aircrew performs an in-air refueling of 3 Colombian Air Force Kfir fighters! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
Volunteers from JTF-Bravo recently donated food and supplies for more than 150 Honduran families near Cane, La Paz. Service members hiked to the village carrying bags of donations to provide for the community and spent time playing soccer with the children as part of Chapel Hike 76. Our forces remain resilient and connected to our neighbors by giving back to the community. Voluntarios de nuestra organización recientemente donaron alimentos y suministros para más de 150 familias hondureñas cerca de #CaneLaPaz quienes subieron a la aldea con bolsas de donaciones para ayudar a la comunidad y compartieron su tiempo jugando fútbol con los niños, como parte de #ChapelHike76. Nuestras fuerzas siguen siendo fuertes y conectadas con nuestros vecinos al ayudar a la comunidad.
Today we said farewell to Colonel Eric Cólen Guedes, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Brazilian Air Force Liaison Officer. Colonel Cólen received a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his work as a crucial link between 12th Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force. Our Liaison Officers play a critical role in strengthening ties between 12th Air Force and our partner nation air forces. We thank Colonel Cólen for his hard work and wish him luck as he moves on to his next assignment! U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Força Aérea Brasileira
Check out this live shot of the Colombians training and flying here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander met with Colombian Air Force Brig. Gen. Pablo Enrique Garcia Valencia! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🤝
The Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana has sent their finest Kfir team to participate in Red Flag 18-3! 🇺🇸🇨🇴🚩🎉 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Nellis Air Force Base
Here's your chance to meet some of our Partner Nation Colombian Airmen! #RedFlag2018 🚩 🇺🇸🇨🇴
We’d like to give a 🔥warm 🤗 welcome to the members of the Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana who arrived today at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona! They will train with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard as they prepare for Red Flag 18-3!🚩️🇺🇸🇨🇴️ U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Air Combat Command Nellis Air Force Base
Happy Independence Day!
Creech Air Force Base Airmen show-off the MQ-9 Reaper!
A Colombian Air Force pilot shows his enthusiasm about participating in the upcoming Red Flag 18-3! We are just as excited as him! 😁🎉🌎✈️
Wow! The F-15E Strike Eagle's train with JTACS!
The Colombian Air Force are bringing their #Kfir's to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada for Red Flag 18-3!
Check out our video from the Conference of American Air Chiefs in Panama City, Panama! This conference brought together Air Force leaders from 19 nations in the Western Hemisphere June 18-22. The System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA), the conference’s sponsoring organization, was established in 1961 and promotes the exchange of experiences, knowledge and training among member nations to strengthen cooperative capabilities in North and South America. Senan Panamá Embajada de Estados Unidos en Panamá U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs Heidi Grant Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca United States Air Force
Today we bid farewell to Colonel Kim Campbell, Commander of our 612th Theater Operations Group and 474th Air Expeditionary Group. Colonel Campbell relinquished command to Colonel Travis Ingber during a change of command ceremony at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. We thank Colonel Campbell for her leadership and wish her the best of luck in her next assignment!
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RT @jtfbravo: Helicopters from the 1-228th Aviation Regiment arrived in #Ecuador yesterday in support of the #USNSComfort #EnduringPromise
RT @southcomwatch: El buque hospital #USNSComfort llevara en una misión de asistencia médica en estrecha colaboración con los gobiernos y m…
RT @jtfbravo: Las capacidades médicas del buque hospital #USNSComfort incluyen salas quirúrgicas y posquirúrgicas, unidad de escaneo, máqui…
@USAF_ACC's Crisis Action Team is working around the clock ⏰as they execute recovery efforts to support the people… https://t.co/Ka8BWHP1RC
These #Airmen are taking the @ACC_Commander's words to ❤️. They are bringing the future! https://t.co/YXTXuai3hZ
RT @DeptofDefense: The @USNavy’s state-of-the-art hospital ship @USNSComfort is scheduled to deploy to #CentralAmerica and #SouthAmerica fo…
RT @FuerzaAereaCol: “La milicia no es más que una religión de hombres honrados” #FelizViernes te desea la tripulación del UH-60 #BlackHawk
Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force completed a 3-day foreign humanitarian assistance subject matter exper… https://t.co/jrCeJbt83r
Best wishes in your future endeavors!!👏 https://t.co/A3XUoSm7jc
A great article about how the @southcomwatch humanitarian assistance program is focused on working with partner nat… https://t.co/lbRWQCfAt3
95 @usairforce Airmen trained with partner nations in the @FuerzaAereaCol search and rescue exercise Angel de l… https://t.co/UGQjAgmBMo