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Air advisors, Colombian air force talk operations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
Following months of coordination, hours upon hours of PowerPoint preparations and seminar translations, members of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy and 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), met with the Colombian air force to exchange ideas on how the maintenance operations center, command post and base operations will interact during the upcoming Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev. The building partner capacity mission took place at Comando Aéreo de Combate No. 1 base, Palanquero, Colombia, June 12-15.

The Air Mobility Command BPC mission is to build stronger international air force cooperation, interoperability and mutual support. The mission also supports the 12th Air Force's (AFSOUTH)) continued engagements in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, the 571st reached out to IAAFA and 12 AF (AFSOUTH) for assistance to complement their team.

"The inter-command cooperation between IAAFA and MSAS is a perfect fit, as both missions complement each other by maintaining educational excellence while building enduring relationships through academic and cultural engagement," said Tech. Sgt. Melvin Rosario, IAAFA instructor.

The Inter-American Air Forces Academy provides Spanish-language technical and management training to military forces and governmental agencies of Latin America and the Caribbean. The school at Lackland AFB provides training in 70 different courses for both officer and enlisted personnel.

During the four-day visit to Palanquero, the U.S. and Colombian air force Airmen covered a variety of topics to include: flightline maintenance operations, command and control functions, standardized communications in a kinetic environment and basic MOC procedures. Additional responsibilities were explained using U.S. Air Force maintenance key leadership positions - production superintendent, flightline expediter and crew chiefs.

"The exchange goal was to enable the Colombian air force to establish a MOC using their existing regulations," said Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) heavy aircraft manager. "Our goal was accomplished and the Colombian air force now has a limited MOC capability to perform fleet operations for their strategic and tactical platforms."

The MOC provides commanders 24/7 aircraft maintenance command and control capability, and coordinates the maintenance scheduling and analysis programs. It provides for group-level maintenance quality assurance, weapons load standardization and engine management in support of maintenance fleet operations. It ensures aircraft maintenance flying-hour programs with oversight of the maintenance efforts for any squadron and provides commanders a real-time status of their platforms.

"Because of the two days of seminar and two days of scenarios, the Colombian air force Airmen are more familiar with the U.S. Air Force procedures they will use during their participation in this year's Red Flag exercise," said Tech. Sgt. Luis Sanchez, 571st MSAS aircraft maintenance air advisor. "We also discussed the safety procedures and equipment they are required to have during the exercise."

Both air forces also had discussions and demonstrations on the use of inflight emergency procedures expanding on a standardized communication field.

"This will allow the Colombian air force seamless communications with partner nations during the Red Flag exercise," said Tech. Sgt. Sheila DeLeon, 571st MSAS command and control air advisor. "Working together, we can help build relationships and provide better communication between our partner nations."

The Colombian air force will make its first appearance during the Red Flag exercise and add its name to the 28 other countries who have participated in these exercises since 1975. Red Flag provides a peacetime "battlefield" to better prepare and train each nation's air forces. Each Red Flag exercise normally involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft.

Red Flag has provided training for more than 440,000 military personnel, including more than 145,000 aircrew members flying more than 385,000 sorties and logging more than 660,000 hours of flying time. The mock battle in the skies over the Nevada Test and Training Range has yielded results that will increase the combat capability of each country's armed forces for future combat situations.

Following the BPC mission in Colombia, the 571st and the Colombia air force will head to Davis Mothan AFB, Ariz. for additional preparation and hands-on exchanges before arriving at Nellis AFB to participate in Red Flag.