Guatemalan airman develops operational plans for PANAMAX 2012 Published Aug. 23, 2012 By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Col. Sergio Catalan, officer of operations for the Guatemalan air force, worked combat operations for 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 are 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 combat plans division assigning air frames to tasks. Question: The governments of the countries participating in PANAMAX 2012 share common interests and goals. How would you define those interests and goals? Answer: Productivity, primarily. The exercise provided a learning experience to operate jointly and it identified specific limitations. Question: How is the security of the Panama Canal important to your country? Answer: It is very important to us in a military capacity. We share the same military interests in the canal that the U.S. does. Question: What were the benefits of participating in this exercise? Answer: We learned to operate together and learned how to integrate as a coalition. I feel there are still greater integration opportunities available and I look forward to future PANAMAX exercises. Question: What did you learn during PANAMAX 2012? Answer: We gained a better understanding of the structure of the actual exercise and how it operates with the coalition partnerships. It would be ideal to be involved in the planning and decision making processes of the exercise. We look forward to growing our exercise participation in the future.