U.S., Honduran Air Forces end BPC mission with closing ceremony
By Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters, 615th Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 29, 2012
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS -- From the installation of the first radar altimeter in a Honduran air force helicopter, to establishing the first air traffic control curriculum and laying ground work for a new survival course for the Honduran air force aircrews, the initial building partner capacity mission in Honduras concluded at the Col. Hernán Acosta Mejia Air Base, Tegucigalpa, Honduras Feb. 23.
A group of approximately 20 members of Air Mobility Command's 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, alongside their Honduran Air Force counterparts, participated in a month-long BPC mission designed to enhance military-to-military relations between the two nations.
The ceremony included remarks from Col. Gary Gottschall, 615th Contingency Response Wing commander, and Brig. Gen. Ruiz Pastor Landa Dubón, Honduran Air Force commanding general.
"Over the past four weeks, we have strengthened the partnership between the Honduran air force and the U.S. Air Force," Gottschall said. "This engagement is only the first of what I hope will be many more engagements designed to foster friendships and partnerships base on a common Airman culture, mutual respect and collaboration."
Following Gottschall's remarks, the Honduran air force commanding general thanked the U.S. Air Force for being here and reiterated that both countries have and will continue to benefit from the forum for exchange of ideas the MSAS deployment provides.
"The exchange of ideas has exceeded our expectations," said Landa. "We will keep updated with all the progress of this global era in which we live today. This continuous partnership will allow us to better serve our country."
The Airmen, representing 15 Air Force specialties, worked side-by-side with Honduran Air Force members in developing the seven core competencies of air base defense, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, aircrew survival, communications, generator maintenance and safety.
The security forces defenders worked together to improve their personal protection skills, secured perimeter posts by installing camouflage netting and created a communications network between the perimeter posts and the base security office. The air crew survival members applied their knowledge and skills to build shelters, start "camp-fires", vector and signal search aircraft and conduct land navigation.
The Honduran air force aircraft maintainers successfully installed two radar altimeters in their helicopters, which will enhance their capability to conduct night operations using night vision goggles. Generator maintenance, hydraulics and vehicle maintenance workers exchanged ideas on tool control and tool accountability, as well as preventative maintenance inspections, designed to keep equipment in safe, working order.
The communications Airmen worked together to program and configure HF radios and exchanged ideas on the basic network principals, as well as wireless network security. The air traffic controllers partnered up and developed an ATC curriculum in the areas of ATC fundamental, control tower fundamentals and practical application.
"We have learned a great deal from each other and I believe that this knowledge and expertise will enhance the capabilities of our two air forces," said Gottschall.
The BPC mission, carried out by AMC's two MSASs, is designed to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities. The 571st's mission also supports 12th Air Force's (Air Force Southern ) continued engagements in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean.