Peruvian airman works in air operation center for PANAMAX 2012 Published Aug. 28, 2012 By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Col. Humberto Schaefer, from the 9th Division, Strategic Command, Armed Forces Joint Command of Peru, worked alongside the Air Operation Center (AOC) deputy director during PANAMAX 2012 with Air Forces Southern, Aug. 6-17. PANAMAX is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. One of the most important benefits of multinational exercises like PANAMAX is the fact that all the participants were able to exchange their experiences, expertise gained new knowledge about each other's culture and people. These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and an understanding among the partner nations, ultimately benefiting the security of the region. Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012? Answer: I worked with the AOC director. Together we gave internal briefings to the Combines Force Air Component Commander. Question: The governments of the countries participating in PANAMAX 2012 share common interests and goals. How would you define those interests and goals? Answer: Integrations of the forces was our main objective. Question: How is the security of the Panama Canal important to your country? Answer: The Panama Canal is essential to our commerce (just as it is to the U.S.). We are working together to protect it against third party take-over. Security of the Canal is essential. Question: What were the benefits of participating in this exercise? Answer: We have learned a lot of lessons here. We learned about what the general functions of an AOC are. This was important because we are trying to establish an AOC in our country. We were also able to see how the AOC works when we all integrate together as a coalition. The experience that we shared at this exercise will be very beneficial to our country.