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U.S., Argentinean Airmen take-part in joint exchange program

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
In an effort to build and strengthen relationships with South American countries, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) welcomed five Airmen of the Argentinean Air Force to southern Arizona Jan. 21-25 to take part in a five-day long Subject Matter Expert Exchange event. 

The SMEE program allows for a short visit by three to four foreign-military experts to exchange information with the U.S. military on a mutually-agreed topic. Topics may include: personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, civil affairs, information processing, and other military related topics. During this event, the exchange pilots focused on fighter combat tactics. 

"The perspective our Airmen obtain from working along-side partner nation military experts is invaluable. But the exciting part is the benefit is mutual. This training allowed our Argentine partner to fly some of the best training ranges in the world, and work closely with pilots with extensive wartime experience," said Lt. Col. Troy Hewgley, the 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) branch chief for theater security. "In addition to providing an invaluable learning and training opportunity, this program allows us to build relationships that are extremely important in our line of business." 

Training was conducted at Luke AFB, Ariz. where the exchange students learned how the U.S. Air Force conducts F-16 Fighting Falcon training. The dynamic training included surface attack and basic fighter maneuvers along-side U.S. Airmen.
"The Argentines were very happy about visiting and working with the U.S. Air Force," said 2nd Lt. Aaron Schuett, an official escort for the group during their trip. "We had a great exchange of ideas and it was a great opportunity to improve the relationship between our two Air Forces. 

The program is administered by U.S. Combatant Commands focusing on nations unique to each command's area of responsibility. U.S. Southern Command, whose area of responsibility spans 15.6 million square miles across Central, South America and the Caribbean, will sponsor more than 100 Subject Matter Experts exchange students in FY 08, by providing school and orientation visits to various defense installations and component headquarters, major medical centers and service academies. 

Twelfth Air Force (AFSOUTH), a subordinate unit to SOUTHCOM, sponsors a two-track program. Annually, it leads more than fifteen multi-discipline teams into Latin America to assist with operations, logistics, maintenance and safety related issues for partner nations. It also oversees all subject matter expert exchanges, allowing hundreds of military members from the South American region to train in the United States.