AFSOUTH Commander decorated by Chilean Air Force Published Aug. 30, 2016 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) SANTIAGO, Chile -- The chief of the Chilean Air Force awarded the Chilean Grand Cross of Aeronautical Merit to the commander of U.S. Air Forces Southern during a visit to Santiago, Aug. 18-19. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, was decorated by Chilean Air General Jorge Robles Mella, Commander in Chief of the Chilean air force. The recognition is given to foreign officials for their professionalism, service, and excellent relations with the Chilean air force. According to the citation, Nowland helped strength ties between the two nations by aiding bilateral agreements between Chile and the U.S. and facilitating operational, maintenance, administrative, and educational subject matter expert exchanges. “It is quite an honor to be recognized and receive this award from the Chilean Air Force,” Nowland said. “However, the recognition truly belongs to the Airmen of both the U.S. and Chilean Air Forces who have worked so well together to create activities which bolster the security of both nations and help the region deal with the scourge of the drug trafficking organizations. I could not be prouder to be a small part of this team and look forward to continued fantastic mutual support between the Chile and the U.S.” During his visit, Nowland met with Chilean Aviation General Arturo Merino Núñez, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Chilean air force, and visited the Chilean Air Force’s Center of Aeronautic Strategic Studies. Twelfth Air Force is located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and is responsible for the combat readiness of seven active-duty wings and one direct reporting unit. As the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command, Air Forces Southern conduct security cooperation and provide air, space and cyberspace capabilities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.