SANTIAGO, Chile --
U.S. airmen, including two from the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, are on a temporary duty assignment in Santiago, Chile, this week to participate in discussions and build partnerships with counterparts from air forces throughout Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Lt. Col. Kat Callaghan, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron director of operations, and Capt. Elizabeth Peters, 571st MSAS aeromedical evacuation air adviser, spent several days talking with regional partners on the capabilities and partnerships that the MSAS can offer.
The 571st MSAS provides air mobility advisory and training assistance in support of the U.S. Southern Command and Air Mobility Command goal of building partnership capacity. The organization, based at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., is comprised of Air Force air mobility experts representing more than two dozen technical specialties ranging from command and control and aeromedical evacuation to airfield operations and aircraft maintenance.
"MSAS engagements help us build cooperation and promote interoperability so that when a crisis or contingency operation occurs in the future, we are better prepared to respond together," said Callaghan, a C-130 navigator in her second year as an MSAS adviser. "For example, if a natural disaster happens, air forces across the Americas will already have a working knowledge of each other's strengths and capabilities to form an integrated response."
Although Callighan and Peters were not on a formal training event in Chile, they did take part in several discussions with counterparts from other militaries, including the Chilean air force on topics such as the overall 571st MSAS mission and aeromedical evacuation support.
"We were able to walk through one of the Chilean air force's expeditionary field hospitals, which they had setup as a display for the FIDAE Air Show this week," said Peters, a flight nurse with experience caring for patients on flights from Iraq and Afghanistan to higher medical care. "These kinds of discussions help us understand how our partners operate and how we can combine or compliment them with our capabilities to be more effective."
MSAS deployments can include both interactive classroom sessions and hands-on training.
"The 571st MSAS exists to be a springboard for discussions about air mobility that will launch our air forces into finding solutions to regional challenges," added Callaghan. "Compared to conducting missions on our own abroad, which can take up a lot of resources, this program is a cost-effective way to help the U.S. and partner-nations be on the same page."
In addition to the 571st MSAS participants, nearly 60 Airmen from the Texas Air National Guard and 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) are participating in exchanges with Chilean air force this week and are hosting static displays of the C-130 Hercules and F-16 Fighting Falcon at the FIDAE Air Show.
The exchanges include discussions and demonstrations on C-130 maintenance and operations, F-16 maintenance and operations, human medical factors in aviation, parachuting procedures, military civil engineering, and providing medical support in a deployed area.
For detailed information about FIDAE to include directions, hours, and other information, please visit the airshow website at http://www.fidae.cl/en/web/show-aereo.
For more information on the U.S. aircraft on static display, please visit http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets.aspx