TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Building partner capacity efforts are ongoing in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. U.S. Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing have deployed for the second time this year to work together with their Honduran counterparts.
July 18th marked the first day for partnership building and idea exchanging for this deployment. Americans and Hondurans from a number of job specialties have come together to discuss a variety of topics including: air base defense, aircrew survival, aircraft maintenance, communications, fuels, medical and supply management.
"Progress was wonderful today. We were exchanging ideas with them on some aircraft maintenance problems," says Senior Master Sgt. Jason Hood, the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron senior enlisted manager. He continues, "We were really looking forward to exchange ideas on how they balance rotor systems on their helos, and coincidently the Hondurans were outside doing just that."
Senior Master Sgt. Hood is a helicopter crew chief and at the beginning of 2012 he deployed to Honduras. Now he is back with a team of aircraft maintenance experts. "We saw they were using equipment to balance the rotors we are familiar with. We got into a conversation with them about their processes. Really that's the reason we are here; to exchange ideas about how we can all be more effective and innovative in our jobs."
This deployment to Honduras is the second this year for the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron.
"Today is the first chance we've had to meet our Honduran partners for this deployment. Building capacity with our partners must be a continuing effort. We all have to be in this for the long haul," say Maj. Lorena Tejada, the mission commander. "The Honduran airmen are excited they get to be innovators for their air force. For me, I am very enthusiastic about our partnership with the Hondurans and how it will impact the way we all implement new ideas in our respective Air Forces."
Maj. Tejada is on her first MSAS deployment but she is very familiar with this area of the world. "I grew up in both America and Colombia so I am familiar with the challenges countries in this region face," she says. "Change can come slowly because resources might not be available. Having spent much of my life growing up in this part of the world and I'm thrilled to play a part in building and maintaining this partnership, however long it takes."
Back on the flight line the Hondurans are busy working on their helicopters. "Unfortunately some maintenance issues halted the rotor balancing," says Senior Master Sgt. Hood. "I'm glad we have this opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences; working together is important because we have a lot to offer each other. Just because our Air Force does something one way does not mean that is the only way to do things. I'm excited to see what the next 30 days has to offer."
Activities will continue throughout the next 30 days. American and Honduran airmen will spend time discussing and demonstrating how they do their jobs in hopes to continue building a lasting relationship for the future.