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Guatemalan Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Cooperate to Promote Safe Aviation

Guatemalan Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Cooperate to Promote Safe Aviation

By Dialogo
February 11, 2015





The Guatemalan Air Force and a medical team from the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) recently co-conducted the Aerospace Medicine Conference in order to foster safe aviation during medical emergencies in Guatemala.

The event was an Air Forces South (AFSOUTH) initiative, which is a SOUTHCOM component, in conjunction with the Arkansas National Guard within the framework of the State Partnership Program between Guatemala and Arkansas to further Guatemala's efforts to develop a first class aerospace medicine program, according to U.S. Air Force Colonel Jimmie D. Bailey, II, Command Surgeon, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH).

During the four-day course, from January 12-15, specialists in aviation medicine and crews trained in Aerospace Medicine discussed the best methods to ensure aviation safety, according to the website of the Guatemalan Air Force (GAF). Aerospace medicine studies human diseases and disorders that are associated with flying, and the United States is at the forefront of aerospace medicine.

The conference was held at the GAF’s La Aurora Central Air Command. About 60 pilots and 40 doctors, paramedics, and rescue personnel participated in the seminar, according Colonel Luis Alfredo Salazar Martínez, director of the GAF Hospital.

The training was conducted by three GAF doctors and seven Military physicians from SOUTHCOM who discussed ways to minimize the role of human error in aviation mishaps. “The goal of the conference was to bring the doctors closer to the flying and the pilots closer to the medicine,” said Col. Salazar Martínez. “The priority is to conduct operations safely and minimize the involvement of human factors in aviation accidents.”

Ongoing medical education


The recent conference is an example of ongoing cooperation between the FAG and SOUTHCOM. It was the third such gathering, and the first to which several civilian government institutions and emergency workers attended, including the country's General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Disaster Reduction Coordinating Agency, as well as civilian pilots and firefighters.

The first two aerospace medicine conferences were held in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The conferences are regulated by the Civil Aviation Law of Guatemala, and the primary goal of the seminars is to prepare pilots, doctors, and crews to make medical assistance decisions, according to the FAG.

Medical personnel at the conference covered a wide array of topics, such as how stress affects pilots and the impact of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on aviators during flight.

The Guatemalan Military Command of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit conducted a demonstration showing how the Armed Forces train to make emergency air transports.

This will help the GAF “go out and conduct rescue, anti-drug, trafficking, or security missions,” Salazar Martínez said.

“The Aerospace Medicine conference exceeded expectations,” he stated. “People were very excited. The goals set by the GAF and the Southern Command went above and beyond.”

The FAG will eventually certify Military pilots


The FAG’s clinics conduct dental, optometry, audiometry, and general flight exams on Guatemalan Military pilots. Currently, civilian physicians certify whether military pilots are fit to fly. Eventually, the GAF will certify its own pilots.

“For the last two years we have had the support of the Southern Command in training both physicians and pilots,” Salazar Martinez said. “To continue the certification process for our pilots, the Southern Command will donate equipment to conduct electrocardiograms, audiograms, and optometry analyses.”

The capacity to self-certify is “essential,” according to Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Eventually, Guatemala could help train the Air Forces of other countries.

“Guatemala will be a regional training center for aerospace medicine in Central America,” Salazar Martínez said.

FAG has 1,300 Troops serving in three Air Commands or Regions, according to the blog Orden de Batalla
.

In cooperation with SOUTHCOM, Guatemala is strengthening its training programs, which will help the Military fight organized crime, including international drug traffickers.

Improving its instruction protocols is part of Guatemala’s effort to “develop its Military capacities, coupled with a series of medium and long-term investments in infrastructure and, of course, in team-building, which obviously must be accompanied with training and coaching,” according to Rodríguez Luna.




The Guatemalan Air Force and a medical team from the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) recently co-conducted the Aerospace Medicine Conference in order to foster safe aviation during medical emergencies in Guatemala.

The event was an Air Forces South (AFSOUTH) initiative, which is a SOUTHCOM component, in conjunction with the Arkansas National Guard within the framework of the State Partnership Program between Guatemala and Arkansas to further Guatemala's efforts to develop a first class aerospace medicine program, according to U.S. Air Force Colonel Jimmie D. Bailey, II, Command Surgeon, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH).

During the four-day course, from January 12-15, specialists in aviation medicine and crews trained in Aerospace Medicine discussed the best methods to ensure aviation safety, according to the website of the Guatemalan Air Force (GAF). Aerospace medicine studies human diseases and disorders that are associated with flying, and the United States is at the forefront of aerospace medicine.

The conference was held at the GAF’s La Aurora Central Air Command. About 60 pilots and 40 doctors, paramedics, and rescue personnel participated in the seminar, according Colonel Luis Alfredo Salazar Martínez, director of the GAF Hospital.

The training was conducted by three GAF doctors and seven Military physicians from SOUTHCOM who discussed ways to minimize the role of human error in aviation mishaps. “The goal of the conference was to bring the doctors closer to the flying and the pilots closer to the medicine,” said Col. Salazar Martínez. “The priority is to conduct operations safely and minimize the involvement of human factors in aviation accidents.”

Ongoing medical education


The recent conference is an example of ongoing cooperation between the FAG and SOUTHCOM. It was the third such gathering, and the first to which several civilian government institutions and emergency workers attended, including the country's General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Disaster Reduction Coordinating Agency, as well as civilian pilots and firefighters.

The first two aerospace medicine conferences were held in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The conferences are regulated by the Civil Aviation Law of Guatemala, and the primary goal of the seminars is to prepare pilots, doctors, and crews to make medical assistance decisions, according to the FAG.

Medical personnel at the conference covered a wide array of topics, such as how stress affects pilots and the impact of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on aviators during flight.

The Guatemalan Military Command of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit conducted a demonstration showing how the Armed Forces train to make emergency air transports.

This will help the GAF “go out and conduct rescue, anti-drug, trafficking, or security missions,” Salazar Martínez said.

“The Aerospace Medicine conference exceeded expectations,” he stated. “People were very excited. The goals set by the GAF and the Southern Command went above and beyond.”

The FAG will eventually certify Military pilots


The FAG’s clinics conduct dental, optometry, audiometry, and general flight exams on Guatemalan Military pilots. Currently, civilian physicians certify whether military pilots are fit to fly. Eventually, the GAF will certify its own pilots.

“For the last two years we have had the support of the Southern Command in training both physicians and pilots,” Salazar Martinez said. “To continue the certification process for our pilots, the Southern Command will donate equipment to conduct electrocardiograms, audiograms, and optometry analyses.”

The capacity to self-certify is “essential,” according to Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Eventually, Guatemala could help train the Air Forces of other countries.

“Guatemala will be a regional training center for aerospace medicine in Central America,” Salazar Martínez said.

FAG has 1,300 Troops serving in three Air Commands or Regions, according to the blog Orden de Batalla
.

In cooperation with SOUTHCOM, Guatemala is strengthening its training programs, which will help the Military fight organized crime, including international drug traffickers.

Improving its instruction protocols is part of Guatemala’s effort to “develop its Military capacities, coupled with a series of medium and long-term investments in infrastructure and, of course, in team-building, which obviously must be accompanied with training and coaching,” according to Rodríguez Luna.
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