Central American and Caribbean Air Chiefs Visit Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
By By Maj. Joost Verduyn, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs December 16, 2018Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted the Central American and Caribbean Air Chief’s conference with participants from Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama, November 6-8, 2018. Eight countries participated in the three-day conference, which focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster response and how to leverage air force partnerships in those areas.
“It’s about partnerships,” said Lt. Col. Roderick Rowe, Jamaican Defense Force Air Wing commander. “In these conferences, you build bridges; you can call on a partner nation to say we are willing to assist in an endeavor. So, if a partner can supply an aspect of need, we can better share and leverage our resources to the benefit of our fellow man.”
Each participating air force representative shared information on their own unique capabilities as well as past challenges and successes. “Ultimately, unions create strength,” said Brig. Gen. Juan Dario Tejada Quintana, commander of the Dominican Republic Air Force. “We’ve seen that shared help from different nations has been very valuable to those countries affected by natural disasters.”
The air chiefs or their representatives also received information about the System of Cooperation among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA) and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA). Representatives from state Air National Guard units partnered with South American Air Forces through the State Partnership Program also attended the conference.
“We can do things alone, but together, we can reach greater success,” stated Gen. Quintana. Additionally, participants discussed the importance of the enlisted force to air force operations and visited the 612th Air Operations Center and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group during the conference.
The conference is an example of 12th Air Force’s (Air Forces Southern) enduring partnership with Latin American Air Forces. It reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas.