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U.S., South American Air Forces talk safety during annual symposium

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
In an effort to strengthen the bond of friendship with Central and South America, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted the 2008 Safety Symposium in Panama April 15-16. 

The 2008 Safety Symposium was the first of its kind, with 29 representatives from North, South and Central America in attendance, allowing U.S. Airmen to exchange safety initiatives with partner nations to prevent accidents and reduce safety related mishaps involving equipment and personnel resources. 

"The 2008 Safety Symposium allowed the participants to share information regarding their safety programs, challenges they overcame, and lessons learned as they implemented their programs. Through these discussions, participants gained a better understanding of what areas they could improve, and created relationships with safety representatives from other countries with the purpose of standardizing and improving safety programs throughout the Americas." said Col. Robert Singleton, the Air Forces Southern Chief of Safety. "This standardization will increase our and our partner nations' ability to safely operate in combined military efforts in the future." 

Countries in attendance included: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, the United States and Uruguay. During the two-day conference, safety representatives focused on programs associated with the safety discipline to include: Flight Safety (mid-air collision avoidance, bird aircraft strike hazards, mishap trend analysis), Ground Safety (motor vehicle safety, the confined space program) Weapons Safety (basic program management, explosive site planning) and Human Factors in Aviation mishaps. 

"It's operations like this that we can share our experiences and knowledge with the goal of achieving operations free of accidents," said Rigoberto Gordon, the director the National Air Service of Panama. "Aeronatical technology has greatly evolved in the last few years, which requires us to modernize our security programs to the highest standard of quality to guarantee greater efficiency in our operations." 

Colonel Singleton thanked the Director and members of the National Air Services of Panama for their exchange and continued support. 

"We'd like to thank the Panamanian government for their hospitality and their collaborative efforts in making this event possible." 

Because of the success of this year's symposium, the AFSOUTH safety staff plans to work with partner nations to host future safety symposiums annually in the region.