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Airmen close out successful SALITRE exercise

An F-16 from the Texas Air National Guard taxis as a Chilean F-16 takes off in the background at Cerro Moreno Air Base near Antofagasta, Chile. Aircraft from various nations participating in Salitre 2014 took part in large force employment exercises during the two-week long exercise which concluded Oct. 18. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

An F-16 from the Texas Air National Guard taxis as a Chilean F-16 takes off in the background at Cerro Moreno Air Base near Antofagasta, Chile. Aircraft from various nations participating in Salitre 2014 took part in large force employment exercises during the two-week long exercise which concluded Oct. 18. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

Engine mechanics from the 149th Maintenance Squadron, Texas Air National Guard perform an engine change on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during Salitre 2014, Oct. 12, at Cerro Moreno Air Force Base, near Antofagasta, Chile. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

Engine mechanics from the 149th Maintenance Squadron, Texas Air National Guard perform an engine change on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during Salitre 2014, Oct. 12, at Cerro Moreno Air Force Base, near Antofagasta, Chile. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau meets with his former unit, the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard during Salitre 2014 at Cerro Moreno Air Force Base, near Antofagasta, Chile, Oct. 15. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau meets with his former unit, the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard during Salitre 2014 at Cerro Moreno Air Force Base, near Antofagasta, Chile, Oct. 15. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

Aircraft from various nations participating in Salitre 2014 practice maneuvers  against simulated enemy targets during a joint exercise, Oct. 14. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

Aircraft from various nations participating in Salitre 2014 practice maneuvers against simulated enemy targets during a joint exercise, Oct. 14. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

Maj. Andrew Davenport, F-16 pilot, 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, a traditional guardsman and a full time internal-medicine doctor in private practice, visits with a Chilean child at the the children’s ward at the Leonardo Guzman Regional Hospital, Antofagasta, Chile. Groups from each of the participating nations went to the hospital to distribute gifts and bring a few moments of joy to the awaiting hospitalized children, Oct. 11. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

Maj. Andrew Davenport, F-16 pilot, 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, a traditional guardsman and a full time internal-medicine doctor in private practice, visits with a Chilean child at the the children’s ward at the Leonardo Guzman Regional Hospital, Antofagasta, Chile. Groups from each of the participating nations went to the hospital to distribute gifts and bring a few moments of joy to the awaiting hospitalized children, Oct. 11. Salitre is a Chilean-led exercise where the U.S., Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, focus on increasing interoperability between allied nations. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Miguel Arellano/released)

Lt. Col. Raul Rosario, detachment commander from the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, visits with local Chileans during Salitre 2014's Open Day at the air base. Hundreds of Chileans turned out for the event which allowed people to see up close the airmen from each of the five participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Bryan Bouchard/Released)

Lt. Col. Raul Rosario, detachment commander from the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, visits with local Chileans during Salitre 2014's Open Day at the air base. Hundreds of Chileans turned out for the event which allowed people to see up close the airmen from each of the five participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Bryan Bouchard/Released)

ANTOFAGASTA, Chile -- After flying more than 50 sorties, participating in two community relations events, entertaining multiple media events and experiencing a visit from the President of Chile, U.S. Airmen participating in Chile's SALITRE 2014 exercise are returning home.

"The 149th Fighter Wing executed every sortie except for those that were not executed were due to weather," said Col. Mike Torrealday, Reserve Advisor to the 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Commander and Exercise Co-Director. "Maintenance turned all their missions every single day... they performed an outstanding job."

This was the first time the U.S. participated in SALITRE since 2012, but continued engagement and interactions with the Chilean air force year-round with AFSOUTH and the Texas Air National Guard made entering into the exercise a smooth process.

"The Chilean air force personnel were very accommodating," said Maj. Darren Bemis, the Texas ANG's 149th Maintenance Squadron commander. Everything we needed they brought to us; the support was outstanding and the interaction between maintenance crews brought friendship and respect for one another."

This wasn't the first visit to Chile by the Texas ANG this year. As State Partners with the Chilean air force, Texas regularly works with their partners to the south.

"At FIDAE we communicated with the Chileans and here at SALITRE we've shared ideas, we've shared experiences and in these two weeks we did the execution in the air," said Lt. Col. Greg Pohoski, 182nd Fighter Squadron pilot, 149 FW. "With each trip we are building on our relations. We started with academics and ended with execution."

The purpose of the State Partnership Program is to conduct military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.

In addition to working with the Chilean air force, Airmen were able to interact with counterparts from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

"The interaction between the Chilean air force fuels shop and the Texas ANG fuels shop helped us out greatly by exchanging knowledge and training," said Master Sgt. Samuel Metz, 149 MG, aircraft systems fuels technician. "I was able to train them on a piece equipment used to inspect external fuel tanks which they never used before. I showed them how to use it, so they can now inspect and certify other Chilean fuels specialist."

Also adding on to the Texas ANG presence was an Ohio ANG KC-135 flying out of Santiago providing essential aerial refueling capability.

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