Air show unites U.S., Honduran air forces
By by Capt. Candace Park , 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
/ Published July 12, 2009
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- An international air show here June 20-21 united Airmen from the U.S. and Honduran air forces and provided an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and aviation expertise.
More than 30 Air Forces Southern Airmen, a KC-135, two F-16s and the Viper East F-16 demonstration team deployed from Davis-Monthan, MacDill and Shaw Air Force Bases, to the Honduran Armando Escalon Air Base to participate in the show, which marks the third year of U.S. Air Force participation.
"Airmen have a special bond, no matter what country they are from," said Honduran Air Force Lt. Col. Jorge Munoz, vice commander of Armando Escalon Air Base. "We share the same principles, spirit, values and love of flight. It is easy for us to get along almost immediately and appreciate each other."
Colonel Munoz said he observed U.S. and Honduran Airmen exchanging knowledge and learning from each other frequently before and throughout the two-day air show.
"Our maintainers have been especially impressed with the discipline and professionalism shown by the F-16 demo team crew chiefs," he said.
The Viper East F-16 Demo Team Chief, Master Sgt. Bryan Spangler, said the team had the opportunity to learn from the Honduran Air Force crew chiefs as well.
"They manage to do a lot with a little and it is incredible to see their creative solutions to maintenance issues," Sergeant Spangler said. "We have learned a lot from them this week."
Colonel Munoz said just like many air forces around the world, the Honduran Air Force faces the challenges of budget cuts, which require creativity and resourcefulness.
"We have to be resourceful to keep the same level of efficiency or we wouldn't survive," he said. "Just like the U.S., we are looking at ways to transform our air force, and we are combining units to share equipment and cut down on costs. This week has been a great opportunity for us to share ideas."
The Airmen participating in the show are not the only ones benefiting from the event. The $35,000 proceeds from the air show will go to build a new children's intensive care unit at local hospital.