The IAAFA: My Story

The IAAFA: My Story

By Dialogo
April 28, 2015




Each student receives one little sunflower seed protected inside a tiny glass box. I end each course as an instructor, session after session, with this symbolic gift. I talk about the importance, the privilege, and the responsibility of leadership: sowing seeds. I talk about the sunflower in particular: it doesn’t matter how dark the skies are, this flower understands that there is a sun that never stops shining.

I am a Brazilian Air Force lieutenant colonel and pilot, and the first officer from my country to serve as a guest instructor at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA). I’ve had two years of very noteworthy experiences; above all, living with students from the Inter-American Squadron Officer School (ISOS) program. In this program, officials from all over the American continent graduate with a greater ability to serve their country and with an enhanced perspective on being outstanding leaders all throughout their career. As the instructor for such a program, I have been able to directly contribute to the professional development of 43 officials from six countries in Latin America, and 20 officials from the United States. My inspiration for this work has come from two of Brazil’s notable sons and heroes: Ambassador Joaquim Nabuco and Air Force General Casimiro Montenegro.

Joaquim Nabuco, a native of the state of Pernambuco, like I am, was Brazil’s ambassador to the United States from 1905 to 1910. In that capacity, he was an ardent supporter of inter-Americanism, which is why he eventually came to preside over the 1906 Pan-American Conference, the seed that would decades later sprout into the creation of the Organization of American States.

Like me, Brazilian Air Force General Casimiro Montenegro was also a pilot. He founded the Aeronautics Institute of Technology and the Aerospace Technical Center in the 40s and 50s, inspired by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. EMBRAER, the third largest airplane manufacturer in the world, would eventually evolve from these technical facilities.

Both men have planted seeds as well as dreams, and have harvested accomplishments of national and international importance that have [always] been based upon a fruitful relationship between Brazil and the United States. These achievements have been signed and sealed in the belief that working with these two giants throughout history has always resulted in peace, stability, progress, freedom, and justice for the American continent and the whole world.

This can be directly attributed to the IAAFA, its 71 years in existence, and its over 44,000 graduates from every country in the Americas. Likewise, the impact of programs like the ISOS goes well beyond the classroom. I still receive messages from a student who works directly in a combat zone in his particular country and fights drug traffickers. This is proof that the lessons he learned at the IAAFA are being implemented to keep the peace, to ensure public order, and to secure victory for legal forces that battle against the sowers of chaos and misery.

Thanks to its specialized focus on technical training and professionalism over the course of seven decades, the IAAFA is always invited to showcase its successes in the Building Partner Aviation Capacity Course, or BPACC, at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida. As a representative of this academy on three occasions, I’ve spoken to dozens of officials from four different continents to promote the cause of harmony and cooperation among nations.

My main point on such occasions is very simple and direct: Wholly echoing the strategic communication of IAAFA, I inform people that, through training, education, and the exchange of life experiences, we are establishing lasting ties and links between our forces and our countries.

I would like to highlight that as part of my work at IAAFA, I was responsible for translating texts and lessons from English to Spanish that would serve as supplemental reading material for ISOS students. One of these texts was very special to me because it was the powerful story of the Hump Airlift Operation, which took place during the Second World War under General Tunner.

On Veterans Day, I was at Dolph Briscoe Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, where my son is in seventh grade. I would be speaking about joint operations between Brazil and the United States during the Italian Campaign in World War II. I had prepared a presentation with slides and some footage from a movie on the First Fighter Squadron of the Brazilian Air Force, “Senta a Pua”.

During a break between presentations, I was chatting with one of the teachers from the school. She said that Veterans Day was particularly special to her because of her father’s legacy. He had been a veteran pilot who had participated in the Hump Operation during World War II!

That was a memorable day for me. And that’s how it’s been over the last two years. Therefore, I extend my gratitude to Brazil, to the Brazilian Air Force, to the United States, the U. S. Air Force and the IAAFA: gratitude for the opportunity to serve my country by serving the American continent, which contributes to the cause of inter-Americanism, because our capacity for dialogue, respect, and cooperation grows in direct proportion to the liberty, security, and progress in our nations.

Just like a sunflower seed, this is one tiny grain of an idea that deserves to be sown throughout the Americas.



Each student receives one little sunflower seed protected inside a tiny glass box. I end each course as an instructor, session after session, with this symbolic gift. I talk about the importance, the privilege, and the responsibility of leadership: sowing seeds. I talk about the sunflower in particular: it doesn’t matter how dark the skies are, this flower understands that there is a sun that never stops shining.

I am a Brazilian Air Force lieutenant colonel and pilot, and the first officer from my country to serve as a guest instructor at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA). I’ve had two years of very noteworthy experiences; above all, living with students from the Inter-American Squadron Officer School (ISOS) program. In this program, officials from all over the American continent graduate with a greater ability to serve their country and with an enhanced perspective on being outstanding leaders all throughout their career. As the instructor for such a program, I have been able to directly contribute to the professional development of 43 officials from six countries in Latin America, and 20 officials from the United States. My inspiration for this work has come from two of Brazil’s notable sons and heroes: Ambassador Joaquim Nabuco and Air Force General Casimiro Montenegro.

Joaquim Nabuco, a native of the state of Pernambuco, like I am, was Brazil’s ambassador to the United States from 1905 to 1910. In that capacity, he was an ardent supporter of inter-Americanism, which is why he eventually came to preside over the 1906 Pan-American Conference, the seed that would decades later sprout into the creation of the Organization of American States.

Like me, Brazilian Air Force General Casimiro Montenegro was also a pilot. He founded the Aeronautics Institute of Technology and the Aerospace Technical Center in the 40s and 50s, inspired by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. EMBRAER, the third largest airplane manufacturer in the world, would eventually evolve from these technical facilities.

Both men have planted seeds as well as dreams, and have harvested accomplishments of national and international importance that have [always] been based upon a fruitful relationship between Brazil and the United States. These achievements have been signed and sealed in the belief that working with these two giants throughout history has always resulted in peace, stability, progress, freedom, and justice for the American continent and the whole world.

This can be directly attributed to the IAAFA, its 71 years in existence, and its over 44,000 graduates from every country in the Americas. Likewise, the impact of programs like the ISOS goes well beyond the classroom. I still receive messages from a student who works directly in a combat zone in his particular country and fights drug traffickers. This is proof that the lessons he learned at the IAAFA are being implemented to keep the peace, to ensure public order, and to secure victory for legal forces that battle against the sowers of chaos and misery.

Thanks to its specialized focus on technical training and professionalism over the course of seven decades, the IAAFA is always invited to showcase its successes in the Building Partner Aviation Capacity Course, or BPACC, at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida. As a representative of this academy on three occasions, I’ve spoken to dozens of officials from four different continents to promote the cause of harmony and cooperation among nations.

My main point on such occasions is very simple and direct: Wholly echoing the strategic communication of IAAFA, I inform people that, through training, education, and the exchange of life experiences, we are establishing lasting ties and links between our forces and our countries.

I would like to highlight that as part of my work at IAAFA, I was responsible for translating texts and lessons from English to Spanish that would serve as supplemental reading material for ISOS students. One of these texts was very special to me because it was the powerful story of the Hump Airlift Operation, which took place during the Second World War under General Tunner.

On Veterans Day, I was at Dolph Briscoe Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, where my son is in seventh grade. I would be speaking about joint operations between Brazil and the United States during the Italian Campaign in World War II. I had prepared a presentation with slides and some footage from a movie on the First Fighter Squadron of the Brazilian Air Force, “Senta a Pua”.

During a break between presentations, I was chatting with one of the teachers from the school. She said that Veterans Day was particularly special to her because of her father’s legacy. He had been a veteran pilot who had participated in the Hump Operation during World War II!

That was a memorable day for me. And that’s how it’s been over the last two years. Therefore, I extend my gratitude to Brazil, to the Brazilian Air Force, to the United States, the U. S. Air Force and the IAAFA: gratitude for the opportunity to serve my country by serving the American continent, which contributes to the cause of inter-Americanism, because our capacity for dialogue, respect, and cooperation grows in direct proportion to the liberty, security, and progress in our nations.

Just like a sunflower seed, this is one tiny grain of an idea that deserves to be sown throughout the Americas.
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