PANAMAX 2012 Spotlight with Maj. Roger Thomas
By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp, 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2012
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Maj. Roger Thomas was the division chief of policy and resources during PANAMAX 2012 at Air Forces Southern, Aug. 6-17. PANAMAX 2012 is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. Forces from 17 nations worked together as part of a computer-simulated-exercise to provide a variety of responses to requests made by the governments of Panama and Colombia. These requests were geared at protecting and guaranteeing safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal, ensuring its neutrality, and respecting national sovereignty.
Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012?
Answer: I was the chief of policy and resources for the PANAMAX contingency action team A6 cell. We handled all communications issue that arose in support of any operations for the other directorates. If someone is forward deployed, we send someone to set up internet and phone capability for them. We can even equip them with satellite capabilities if they need fixed communication. We were the liaison for all communication operations that come through the crisis action team.
Question: In what way did your role contribute to the overall objectives of PANAMAX 2012?
Answer: We provided the commander with comprehensive oversight of all of his communication assets and capabilities in the joint operations area.
Question: What were the lessons learned you took away from PANAMAX 2012?
Answer: I gained firsthand experience on how all of the different components of PANAMAX worked together, and specifically how we interacted with our joint partners in the event of a humanitarian crisis. These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and understanding among the nations participating, ultimately benefiting security in the region.