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571st MSAS builds partnership capacity in the Dominican Republic

By Lt. Col. Christopher Shea 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron

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SAN ISIDRO AIR BASE, Dominican Republic -- The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron (MSAS) completed training with the Dominican Republic Air Force (FARD) near Santo Domingo from April 18 through May 5, 2018.

The MSAS team trained members of the FARD on aircraft weight and balance, corrosion control, hazardous materials management and radio communications.  They also conducted an assessment of vehicle maintenance and operations.

According to Staff Sgt. Falon Pereira, 571st MSAS radio communications air advisor, the training partner nation military members received was valuable.

“One of the biggest takeaways from this experience is how dynamic the environment we operate in can be,” Pereira said. “Our training emphasized the need for air advisors to be flexible and ready to adapt their training curriculum to meet the interests of the U.S. Air Force and the capabilities of our partner nations."

During the two-week period, more than 175 hours of assessments and seminars took place at the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, graduating 25 FARD military personnel from several career job specialties.

As part of the training, Tech. Sgt. Bryant Friend conducted the first U.S. Air Force assessment of FARD vehicle maintenance operations. He helped them make their sole forklift operational after four months out of service and regain their cargo aircraft loading capability. The assessment opened the door for more training to help the FARD military get new capabilities.

“It was quite eye opening to witness the hard work and ingenuity of the partner nation personnel,” Friend said. “Although they lack the tools and equipment that I normally use, they were able to perform effective maintenance operations with what they had.”

Throughout the team’s time in the Dominican Republic, the MSAS assisted the FARD in improving their ability to conduct air operations against maritime criminal threats, such as narcotics trafficking, and to build partnerships for enduring regional security cooperation.

Master Sgt. Moises Chavez-Zavala serves as an air advisor for aircraft corrosion control. 

“I learned a lot about the FARD maintenance operations and how their efforts directly support U.S. interests in the region,” he said. “Increasing an aircraft life-cycle with basic corrosion prevention principles will help to extend the FARD’s ability to contribute to regional security by directly supporting counter-narcotics operations."

The last time the 571st MSAS conducted training with the FARD was in September 2017.  The squadron has continuously completed mobile training teams in the Dominican Republic, approximately two times per year, since 2016.

This was also a significant training event for the MSAS as nine of the 15 team members were in training to be certified in various team roles from an “air advisor” to a “mission commander” in support of the U.S. Air Force’s building partnership capacity mission in the U.S. Southern Command region. The rest of the team focused on their normal duty positions as instructors or interpreters.

The 571st MSAS’s mission is to strengthen partner nation’s capabilities through providing assessments, training, advice, and assisting partner nations in developing their own airpower capabilities. The unit includes Spanish-speaking Airmen and is aligned with the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility.


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