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Visiting Colombia, CSAF stresses importance of maintaining close ties to key Latin America ally

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas pose for a photo in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. In 1822, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the republic of Colombia and to establish a resident diplomatic mission in the country. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity between the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas pose for a photo in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. In 1822, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the republic of Colombia and to establish a resident diplomatic mission in the country. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity between the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas briefs Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein on capabilities and common interests between the countries' air forces, in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Regional partnerships like that of the U.S. and Colombia reflect an enduring promise of a cooperative, prosperous and secure hemisphere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas briefs Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein on capabilities and common interests between the countries' air forces, in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Regional partnerships like that of the U.S. and Colombia reflect an enduring promise of a cooperative, prosperous and secure hemisphere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas salute during the Memorial Heroes Caidos en Combate in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity between the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas salute during the Memorial Heroes Caidos en Combate in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity between the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein is welcomed to Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 14, 2018, by members of the U.S. and Colombian air forces. Regional partnerships like that of the U.S. and Colombia reflect an enduring promise of a cooperative, prosperous and secure hemisphere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein is welcomed to Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 14, 2018, by members of the U.S. and Colombian air forces. Regional partnerships like that of the U.S. and Colombia reflect an enduring promise of a cooperative, prosperous and secure hemisphere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas render salutes during a ceremony at the Memorial Heroes Caidos en Combate in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. During the ceremony, which took place during his visit to the country Nov. 14-15, Goldfein laid a wreath to honor Colombian troops lost in battle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Commander of the Colombian Air Force General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas render salutes during a ceremony at the Memorial Heroes Caidos en Combate in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. During the ceremony, which took place during his visit to the country Nov. 14-15, Goldfein laid a wreath to honor Colombian troops lost in battle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces General Alberto José Mejía expresses thanks and support to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a meeting between Colombian and U.S. military leaders in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. By working together with partner nations and regional leaders, the U.S. will achieve effective solutions to common challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces General Alberto José Mejía expresses thanks and support to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a meeting between Colombian and U.S. military leaders in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. By working together with partner nations and regional leaders, the U.S. will achieve effective solutions to common challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces General Alberto José Mejía expresses thanks and support to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a meeting between Colombian and U.S. military leaders in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. By working together with partner nations and regional leaders, the U.S. will achieve effective solutions to common challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces General Alberto José Mejía expresses thanks and support to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a meeting between Colombian and U.S. military leaders in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. By working together with partner nations and regional leaders, the U.S. will achieve effective solutions to common challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein addresses Colombian Air Force War College students at the Canton Norte in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity within the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein addresses Colombian Air Force War College students at the Canton Norte in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 15, 2018. Goldfein's visit to the country and U.S. engagement in the region reflect the enduring promise of friendship, partnership and solidarity within the Americas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

BOGOTA, Columbia (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein concluded a two-day visit to Colombia on Thursday, reinforcing bonds with one of the United States’ closest allies in Latin America and pledging to accelerate joint training activities with an air force he called the “gold standard” in the region.

The visit was Goldfein’s first as the Air Force’s highest-ranking officer to a country that has worked closely with the United States on an assortment of regional and security concerns for decades. At the same time, Goldfein’s visit took place amid heightened regional concerns that underscored the importance of maintaining the longstanding ties the countries share.

“Colombia is the gold standard when it comes to securing a country and forging a positive way forward,” Goldfein said during an address to a collection of senior leaders, junior officers and non-commissioned officers, noting that the Colombian Air Force participated in the last U.S. Air Force Red Flag exercise.

As he did throughout the two-day visit in Bogata, Goldfein praised the Colombian military – and specifically its air force – for its high performance and partnership.

“As our national defense strategy states, we cannot win without coalition partners. … Colombia has been, and will continue to be, a capable and willing partner of the United States,” Goldfein said.

In addition to policy discussions that ranged from strategies for Colombia’s ongoing actions to defeat narco-terrorism, security implications triggered by political turmoil in neighboring Venezuela and Colombia’s potential for training pilots from other countries in light attack, there was pomp and ceremonies that captured the two countries’ relationship.

In a ceremony at the Memorial Heroes Caidos en Combate, or Fallen Heroes Memorial, Goldfein laid a wreath to honor Colombian troops lost in battle.

Later in the day during a gathering of senior leaders from both air forces, Colombia’s highest-ranking air force officer, Gen. Carlos Eduardo Bueno, told Goldfein, “The United States and the United States Air Force will always be considered our principle strategic ally.”

Before departing for Washington, Goldfein also bestowed the Legion of Merit to Bueno. In presenting the award, which is one the highest honors the military confers, Goldfein said it reflected Bueno’s leadership in transforming the air force into “an island of excellence.”

“The benchmark for the Colombian Air Force at all times is the United States Air Force; the United States Air Force, for us, is the reference,” Bueno said in an interview Thursday. “We have been studying with the United States Air Force, training with the United States Air Force and to have the presence of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force for the first time in history for an official visit … is very important.”

While only two full days, Goldfein’s visit was a whirlwind of public events as well as private discussions with Colombia’s military leadership. It included an hour-long session with Gen. Alberto Mejia who is the Colombia’s parallel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Like Bueno, Mejia highlighted a strong and productive history of cooperation between the two nations.

“You are part of everything we do and we are proud of that,” Mejia told Goldfein. “That kind of partnership is making an incredible difference.”

He thanked Goldfein and the United States for working closely on both establishing and executing interoperability. Demonstrating that capacity is important now that Colombia has been designated a NATO global partner. Mejia also thanked Goldfein for Colombia’s participation in the last Red Flag exercise.

But Mejia also noted a collection of difficult issues that could test the relationship. Among the challenges are the continuing threat to Colombia’s stability from nacro-trafficking as well as ongoing problems in Venezuela that have triggered a flow of refugees to Colombia.

Goldfein’s trip was the most recent example of senior U.S. officials visiting Colombia this year. In addition to Mattis, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as well as Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of U.S. Southern Command, visited the country. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also came to Colombia when he served.

For the United States, the interest is both strategic and longstanding.

In 1822, for example, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the republic of Colombia and to establish a resident diplomatic mission in the country.

More recently, Mack McLarty, who served as chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton, and John Negroponte, who served in a variety of security and diplomatic positions for former President George W. Bush including U.N. ambassador, wrote in an op-ed for the Miami Herald about U.S. relations with Colombia.

“As we address an ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, Colombia represents a stable, democratic neighbor to the west,” they wrote.

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Guyana is going to be hosting U.S. servicemembers for a New Horizons exercise in May. During this three month exercise, U.S. military civil engineers and medical proffesionals will work alongside the Guyanese people in joint humanitarian assistance exercises. Check out the link to read more. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) U.S. Embassy Guyana https://gy.usembassy.gov/guyana-to-host-new-horizons/
Check out photos from a recent meeting between the Fuerza Aérea De Chile and 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base San Antonio as they continued their work together as part of the State Partnership Program. Colonel Juan Jose Iglesis, Chilean Air Force Foreign Liaison Officer, joined with Colonel Adam Mercier, 12th Air Force Air National Guard Advisor to the Commander, to discuss the program with 149th Fighter Wing personnel last week.
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Today we raise our goblets to a true U.S. Air Force legend. Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Dick” Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, has passed away at the age of 103. As a Lieutenant, Cole was the Co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle during the infamous Doolittle Raid. In honor of him we remember how the Doolittle Raiders contributed to our proud heritage. Twelfth Air Force was created during the U.S. buildup of forces for World War II, by the Army Air Forces. The numbered air force activated on August 20, 1942. Brigadier General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, became its commander later that year. He was fresh off the historic Doolittle Raid, the surprise bombing of Tokyo, Japan, in April 1942. The recently promoted general officer worked to establish a fighting force capable of opening up another, this time, southern front in the European Theater.
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Guyana is going to be hosting U.S. servicemembers for a New Horizons exercise in May. During this three month exercise, U.S. military civil engineers and medical proffesionals will work alongside the Guyanese people in joint humanitarian assistance exercises. Check out the link to read more. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) U.S. Embassy Guyana https://gy.usembassy.gov/guyana-to-host-new-horizons/
Check out photos from a recent meeting between the Fuerza Aérea De Chile and 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base San Antonio as they continued their work together as part of the State Partnership Program. Colonel Juan Jose Iglesis, Chilean Air Force Foreign Liaison Officer, joined with Colonel Adam Mercier, 12th Air Force Air National Guard Advisor to the Commander, to discuss the program with 149th Fighter Wing personnel last week.
The AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters are in Curacao! The Air Force Reserve Command's WC-130J is on display and will offer an opportunity to learn how scientists collect hurricane information. The The NOAA WP-3D aircraft, used for both hurricane forecasting and research, will be on display as well!
Today we raise our goblets to a true U.S. Air Force legend. Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Dick” Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, has passed away at the age of 103. As a Lieutenant, Cole was the Co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle during the infamous Doolittle Raid. In honor of him we remember how the Doolittle Raiders contributed to our proud heritage. Twelfth Air Force was created during the U.S. buildup of forces for World War II, by the Army Air Forces. The numbered air force activated on August 20, 1942. Brigadier General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, became its commander later that year. He was fresh off the historic Doolittle Raid, the surprise bombing of Tokyo, Japan, in April 1942. The recently promoted general officer worked to establish a fighting force capable of opening up another, this time, southern front in the European Theater.
Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Commander Maj. Gen. Croft and Twelfth Air Force, Air Forces Southern, Command Chief Master Sergeant Chief Storms, recently met with United States Air Force Airmen that are supporting the Joint Task Force-Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.🤝
Here's a quick look into the Chilean Air Force's F-16 block 50!
Approximately 130 volunteers from Soto Cano Air Base participated in #ChapelHike78 during the weekend, carrying donations for a community of La Paz. The donations included 6,000 pounds of food to 200 families in Concepción de Soluteca!
The F-35A is the 🇺🇸 United States Air Force's latest fifth-generation fighter. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the U.S. and allied nations.
🇺🇲United States Air Force Weather Airmen in🇭🇳 Honduras explain the how a weather balloon 🎈release works and how the information collected is shared with agencies across the🌎 world to include the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center 🌀
Congratulations to the #RPA community on their 4 millions flight hours!🎉
🇭🇳🇺🇲 Firefighters 👨‍🚒 from Joint Task Force-Bravo aiding local Honduran firefighters to put out a wildfire🔥 last week #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇨🇴We are honored to have the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana Commander of the Colombian Air Force Maj. Gen. Ramsés Rueda Rueda visiting 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Headquarters.
Colombian Air Force supports US Navy Growlers for premier air-to-air combat training exercise ‘Red Flag’
Wow! The 🇨🇴Fuerza Aérea Colombiana Multi-Mission Transport Tanker Jupiter 767 conducts air-to-air refueling with a 🇺🇲U.S. Navy EA-18 #Growler Electronic Attack Squadron 134 Garudas during United States Air Force led #RedFlag 🚩19-2 at Nellis Air Force Base!
🇨🇴🇺🇸Fuerza Aérea Colombiana train with U.S. Navy ⚓️during 🚩#RedFlag 19-2! The Colombian Multi-Mission Transport Tanker Jupiter 767 ✈️ is conducting day☀️and night 🌖 refueling missions with EA-18 #Growlers from the Electronic Attack Squadron 134 Garudas! These missions are increase interoperability between the U.S. and Colombia. 🤝 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
#EnduringPromise 🇨🇴🇺🇸#SOUTHCOM Military Deputy Commander U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Plehn traveled to #Colombia to meet with security leaders to strengthen the U.S.-Colombia bilateral security relationship and to deepen understanding of the rapidly changing security situation in Colombia. 🤝 Lt. Gen. Plehn met with Colombian Army Maj. Gen. Luis Navarro Jiménez, Commanding General of Colombian Military Forces, to discuss U.S.-Colombia defense cooperation.
🇨🇴🇺🇸The Colombian Air Force Fuerza Aérea Colombiana is training with U.S. joint forces and five Partner Nation Air Forces at Nellis Air Force Base for 🚩 #RedFlag 19-2! This is Colombia's third time participating in this exercise ✈️Training events like this build an enduring commitment between U.S. and Partner Nations Air Forces. 🤝🤝 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
It's amazing to see partnerships continuing to grow with the Brazilian National Defense Force and the New York National Guard signing a Partnership Declaration yesterday. The State Partnership Program is an opportunity for Brazil and the New York National Guard to learn from one another exchange military skills and improve effectiveness, together. Força Aérea Brasileira
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM's & @AFSOUTH's training exercise #NewHorizons19, kicks off in #Guyana, next month. The 3-month event will train U.S…
RT @jtfbravo: #Guatemala #Honduras #ElSalvador #CostaRica #Belize and @AFSOUTH firefighters participate in an obstacle course challenge dur…
Today we raise our goblets to a true U.S. Air Force legend. Retired #USAF Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Dick” Cole, t… https://t.co/bdIQdwPHgU
RT @jtfbravo: Major General Croft @AFSOUTH CDR conducted a Town Hall at Soto Cano to meet with our @usairforce personnel and JTF-Bravo key…
RT @jtfbravo: #612ABS personnel assisted the Honduran Fire Department in fighting a large wildlife in the Comayagua mountains earlier today…
🇺🇸🇨🇴We are honored to have Commander of the @FuerzaAereaCol Maj. Gen. Ramsés Rueda Rueda visiting 12th Air Force (… https://t.co/ixdpM9nwOX
RT @FuerzaAereaCol: Finalizó el ejercicio #RedFlag 19-2 en la @NellisAFB #EstadosUnidos donde la @FuerzaAereaCol participó junto a 21 escua…
🇨🇴🇺🇸Wow! The @FuerzaAereaCol Multi-Mission Transport Tanker Jupiter 767 conducts air-to-air refueling with a… https://t.co/sOV4qBSFp2
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM Military Dep. Commander @USAirForce Lt. Gen. Michael Plehn met today w/ Colombian Army Maj. Gen. Luis Navarro Jimén…
RT @NellisAFB: Colombian Air Force taking to the sky to refuel Blue Force fighters for #RedFlag 19-2! #FightsOn #NellisAFB #AimHigh https:/…
🇨🇴The @FuerzaAereaCol is training with 🇺🇸U.S. joint forces and 5 Partner Nation Air Forces at @NellisAFB for🚩… https://t.co/jymiF93okY
RT @Southcom: The U.S. today is airlifting more humanitarian aid, including medical supplies, to help the people of #Venezuela. In cooperat…
RT @USAIDMarkGreen: WHEELS UP 🛫! The U.S. is airlifting more assistance to help the people of #Venezuela. Water treatment units & other sup…
RT @Southcom: Humanitarian Aid for #Venezuela: Additional @USAirForce C-17 flying #humanitarian aid from Miami to Cúcuta, Colombia today. @…
RT @theOFDA: LIVE NOW: Relief supplies from @USAID just landed in Cucuta, Colombia to help tens of thousands of people affected by the #Ven
RT @Southcom: 1st of 3 @USAirForce C-17s flying #humanitarian aid from Miami to Cúcuta, Colombia, takes off from @Homestead_ARB. @StateDept
Take a look at the first @usairforce C-17 heading to Colombia to bring aid. https://t.co/laR4brP2Wl
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM Cdr Adm. Craig Faller in #Brazil to meet w/ defense leaders & discuss cooperation. Brazil & U.S. have a robust part…
RT @USAmbNicaragua: Muy orgulloso de poder recibir este camión de bomberos donado a #Nicaragua por el pueblo estadounidense y transportado…
SOUTHCOM Commander Visits 12th Air Force: https://t.co/m9W46fQzWq via @YouTube