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AMC training team builds a secure partnership with Honduran Air Force

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lorena Tejada
  • 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron
The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron recently finished its first fully integrated mobile training team event with the Honduran Air Force.

Thirteen air advisors deployed to Base Aerea Coronel Hector Acosta Mejia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from July 21 to August 24 to train more than 50 partner nation military personnel over the 35-day engagement. Lessons included aircraft maintenance, fuels, secure communications, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Honduran Air Force commanding general, Brig. Gen. Manuel Palacios, addressed this premiere MSAS MTT at the during the opening ceremony. "We welcome our MSAS friends and partners as we find solutions to common challenges and build stronger bonds between our air forces."

As the first fully integrated MSAS Building Partner Capacity event in Honduras, this engagement set a foundation for advancing the Honduran Air Force's capacity to support counter-narcotics missions and United States Southern Command's theater security cooperation objectives.

All Air Mobility Command building partner capacity missions are conducted in coordination with the air force component of United States Southern Command and the US Office of Security Cooperation in Honduras. However, this BPC event took integration and synchronization to the next level. The MSAS MTT cadre also included the expertise of an Inter-American Air Forces Academy aircraft maintenance instructor and an air battle manager from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.

This event marked the first time MSAS Aircraft Maintenance teams focused on the Honduran Beechcraft B200. Tech. Sgt. Mateo Escareno, MSAS aircraft maintenance air advisor, and Tech. Sgt. Mauricio Moya, IAAFA instructor worked closely with Honduran Air Force aircraft maintainers to focus on a variety aircraft systems and maintenance procedures. Moya provided his expertise during an on-site PT-6 engine course, while Escareno and FAH personnel authored a thorough aircraft and maintenance program assessment of the platform.

Additionally, Tech. Sgt. Christopher White, intelligence air advisor, led the first-ever MSAS Intelligence course at the Honduran Air Force Operation's Center, also known as COFAH. He helped their operators establish a basic intelligence foundation that provided greater situational awareness and common knowledge. White also guided the COFAH operators through a complex final exercise, where they were able to respond to a down military aircraft scenario with enhanced efficiency and improved coordination throughout the scenario.

"This was the first opportunity for COFAH to work side-by-side with base-level intel analysts to collaborate and develop checklists, procedures and team analysis," White said. "This training built common situational awareness across the airbases and shortened reaction time."

Technical Sergeants Brian De Luca and Richard Rubalcava, communications air advisors, trained Honduran Air Force and Navy radio operators as they successfully added a new secure voice and data communications capability to their forces.

Captain Jose Domingo Meza, HQ Honduran Naval Communications Director, said "We are committed to further developing this critical secure communications capability and already have plans for additional joint training for Honduran Air Force, Naval and Army operators."

During the closing ceremony, Colonel Lawrence Pravecek, U.S. State Dept. Defense and Air Attaché for Honduras, addressed military graduates, "This MTT created the opportunity to collaborate and further develop our capabilities as air force partners. You have seized the moment! I hope you feel empowered to take your mission to a new level of success."