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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BUILDING U.S.-COLUMBIA TIES


FROM:  U.S. AIR FORCE
Staff Sgt. Angel Ortega (left), 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air transportation air advisor, and Staff Sgt. Peter Salinas, 571st MSAS air transportation air advisor, secure cargo straps onto a pallet before loading it onto an aircraft during an Air Mobility Command Building Partner Capacity mission at General Alberto Pauwels Rodriguez Air Base in Barranquilla, Colombia, June 27, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters)  
Airmen build ties with Colombian counterparts 
by Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

7/3/2012 - BARRANQUILLA, Columbia (AFNS) -- Members of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron completed the first part of an Air Mobility Command Building Partner Capacity mission - working with the Colombian air force to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities, at General Alberto Pauwels Rodriguez Air Base in Barranquilla, Colombia, June 28.

The mission also supports the 12th Air Force's (Air Forces Southern) continued engagements in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, the 571st reached out to the Inter-American Air Forces Academy and 12th AF (AFSOUTH) for assistance to complement their team.

"This BPC mission was a success from multiple angles," said Maj. Brian Symon, 571st MSAS Colombia mission commander. "We were able to build lasting relationships that will pave the way for greater interoperability and we shared ideas to make both our nation's mobility systems more efficient and effective."

During the month-long partnership mission the 571st, a group of Air Force air mobility experts, travelled within the country to several locations working side-by-side with the Colombian air force fighter, and transport aircrews.  They developed the four core competencies of aerial support, command and control and communications, airfield operations and flight management.

The Airmen participated in a mutually beneficial forum for the exchange of ideas between U.S. and Colombian Airmen via interactive classroom seminars and hands-on exchanges at Commando Aéreo de Transporte Militar in Bogota, Comando Aéreo de Combate No. 1 Base in Palanquero and at General Alberto Pauwels Rodriguez Air Base in Barranquilla.

The 571st MSAS, stationed out of Travis AFB, Calif., continues the second part of its BPC mission as the team heads to Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz. and continues working with the Colombian air force for additional preparation and hands-on exchanges before arriving at Nellis AFB, Nev., to participate in Red Flag Exercise, July 16-27.

"We were able to work closely with the FAC (Colombian air force) by establishing common goals built on mutual respect and confidence," said Symon. "Their attendance at Red Flag is a cooperative accomplishment for both our countries and hopefully just one of many similar success stories."

The Colombian air force will make its first appearance during the Red Flag exercise and add its name to the 28 other countries who have participated in these exercises since 1975. Red Flag provides a peacetime "battlefield" to better prepare and train each nation's air forces. Each Red Flag exercise normally involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft.

"The exchange of ideas we shared with the MSAS air advisors was invaluable," said Maj. Carlos Gutierrez, Colombian air force member. "With this being our first time at Red Flag, we wanted to take in everything the air advisors shared with us."

Red Flag has provided training for more than 440,000 military personnel, including more than 145,000 aircrew members flying more than 385,000 sorties and logging more than 660,000 hours of flying time. The mock battle in the skies over the Nevada Test and Training Range has yielded results that will increase the combat capability of each country's armed forces for future combat situations.

"There will always be ways for the U.S. and partner nations to improve their mobility systems and become more efficient," Symon said. "Persistent engagements, like this one, build upon past success and pave the way for sustained capacity improvements."