A broken aircraft and several delays at the airport didn't stop the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron from arriving in Colombia on June 3 to begin its building partner capacity mission.
The squadron's air advisors are currently working with the Colombian air force to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships, enhancing partner nation capabilities and preparing the Colombians to participate for the first time in this year's Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 16-27.
In addition, the mission of the squadron, which is based out of Travis AFB, Calif., supports the continued engagements of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean.
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.
"We are here to assist the Colombian air force in preparing to operate at Red Flag," said Maj. Brian Symon, the 571st MSAS Colombia mission commander. "The U.S. and Colombia enjoy a long history of friendship and cooperation focused on enhancing stability and security within our countries, and the Colombian air force's participation in Red Flag will bridge the capabilities of our two air forces to better meet the challenges of the 21st century."
During the month-long building partner capacity mission, the 571st MSAS, which is a group of Air Force air mobility experts, will travel within the country to several locations working side-by-side with the Colombian air force fighter and transport aircrews. The goal is to develop the four core competencies of aerial support; command, control and communications; airfield operations; and flight management to aid in Colombia's success at Red Flag. The 571st MSAS Airmen will participate 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 the base and surrounding areas.
The Colombian air force will add its name to the 28 other countries who have participated in these exercises since 1975. 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, officials said.
"Our military's future success in the world's complex, uncertain and competitive operating environment will increasingly rest on a partnership that builds on supporting regional and global security," said Master Sgt. Aaron Carrillo, the 571st MSAS Colombia mission team sergeant.
Following the building partner capacity mission in Colombia, the 571st MSAS and the Colombian air force will head to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., for additional preparation and hands-on exchanges before arriving at Nellis AFB to participate in Red Flag.
Article by Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs