AFSOUTH Liaison Officers: Embarking on a journey toward a promising future
By Jessica Casserly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2014
DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- (This feature is part of the "AFSOUTH Liaison Officers" series. These stories focus on a single Air Forces Southern liaison officer, highlighting their experience serving as their country's representative to the AFSOUTH Commander.)
Colonel Alex Voigt has only been serving as the Air Forces Southern Chilean Liaison Officer at Davis-Monthan for a couple of months, but with a history of Chilean LNOs reaching the rank of general and one even going on to serve as the top ranking officer in their country's air force, Voigt is on track for success.
Voigt, who was hand-selected by the top-ranking official in the Chilean air force to serve as the AFSOUTH Chilean LNO, has been serving in the Chilean air force for 30 years. His air force journey officially began at the age of 16, when he started at the Chilean air force academy, but Voigt had dreams of becoming a pilot long before that.
"I saw the aircraft and thought about becoming a pilot," Voigt said. "My older brother was a pilot in the [Chilean] air force also, so I think he inspired me to join the air force."
While achieving his dream of becoming a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours in eight different aircraft, Voigt simultaneously perused professional education. Excelling in all aspects of his career, Voigt has been selected for coveted opportunities to grow professionally and personally. It is these unique opportunities Voigt believes allowed him to stand out from him peers when being considered to serve as the AFSOUTH Chilean LNO.
"[The Chilean air force leadership] looks at your career and the former positions you have held when making this decision," Voigt said. "I attended Air Command and Staff College in Alabama at Maxwell Air Force Base in 2006. I think this might have been an important factor that helped to make the decision for the general. After the decision was made, I had about a month of training in Chile to prepare for my new job as the AFSOUTH Chilean LNO."
Though he has only been at AFSOUTH a short time, Voigt already sees the abundance of opportunities this position will afford him and his family.
"It is a great professional experience to work with U.S. Air Force personnel and the other liaison officers," Voigt said. "For my family, this is amazing. To live in a new country and learn a new culture--it's a great experience. We are happy and we are lucky also."
The AFSOUTH LNO General Program Manager, Tyrone Barbery, believes that Voigt's good fortune may just be starting. With a strong history of highly successful former AFSOUTH Chilean LNOs, the future looks very bright for Voigt.
"The current Chilean air force commander in chief, who is the equivalent of the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, took command on November 5 of this year," Barbery said. "He served as the AFOUTH Chilean LNO about eight years ago and was also the first ever liaison officer at AFSOUTH, so Colonel Voigt might be a future commander in chief of the Chilean air force. Also, all of the Chilean LNOs who have come here have made general, with the exception of our last one and that is only because it is not his time yet."
Though Voigt humbly protests suggestions that he may one day become a top-leader in his country's air force, he does see the advantages of someone with an AFSOUTH LNO background in such an influential position.
"[The Chilean air force] has a big advantage now, because our commander in chief was an LNO," Voigt said. "He understands very well how the U.S. Air Force works."
For Barbery, the success of a former Chilean LNO speaks to the importance and the success of the AFSOUTH LNO program.
"It's not only the Chilean air force that is proud of their new commander in chief," Barbery said. "Those of us who have been involved with the AFSOUTH LNO program are also proud."
No matter what the future holds, for now, Voigt is content to settle in to his new position as the AFSOUTH Chilean LNO and make the most of this experience.
"I'm looking forward to doing my job well and strengthening the ties between both air forces and countries," Voigt said. "It will be a good time, I am sure about that."