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Canadian air force fighter pilot contributes to PANAMAX 2012

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp
  • 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Maj. James S. Fell, a fighter pilot in the Canadian air force, worked with the chief of combat operations during PANAMAX 2012 for Air Forces Southern. 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 in the Air Mobility Division. I planned airlift requirements from the Multi-National Force Support and Southern Command.

Question: The governments of the countries participating PANAMAX 2012 share common interests and goals. How would you define these interests and goals?

Answer: Canada was looking to shift its strategic guidance to the central/southern area of responsibility, so this PANAMAX was bigger to us than usual. With Canada Command now looking to expand to South America, it was a good time to build synergy between U.S. Air Force and the Canadian Air Force.

Question: How is the security of the Panama Canal important to your country?

Answer: The U.S. and Canada share the same interests in the Canal. Almost everything that travels through Canada first travels through the Canal. Its security is very important to us.

Question: What were the benefits of participating in this exercise?

Answer: There are two fronts. The first is gaining insight into the U.S. process, as the U.S. leads most major events that we are a part of. The second is building relationships with our South American partners. PANAMAX serves as the largest opportunity for us to work with our Central and South America partner nations.

Question: What did you take away from PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: Interoperability and how to make things work. We know what the U.S. Air Force uses for technology and doctrine, but we are still learning how to utilize those things in a coalition setting. This is a great place to learn how we can improve our participation in future exercises. We would like to take on more of a leader role in the future by integrating with the U.S. Air Force.