BUENOS AIRES, Argentina –
U.S. and Argentinian Air Force medical personnel held a senior leader engagement as part of the Department of Defense State Partnership Program Sep. 20, at the National Institute of Aeronautical and Space Medicine, Argentina. Key leaders from the Secretary of the Air Force Office of International Affairs, the Georgia Air National Guard, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), and the Argentinian Air Force came together to share knowledge and experience and to further develop the relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Argentinian Air Force.
Service members from both countries shared the unique responsibilities and mission of their medical programs, as well as current challenges and long-term goals. Participants held briefings, led discussion sessions, and participated in informal talks on humanitarian aid and disaster response, aeromedical evacuation and other topics.
The engagement marks the first time key U.S. Air Force medical service leaders have visited Argentina since the Georgia Air National Guard announced their state partnership with Argentina in 2016.
U.S. Air Force Col. Julio Lairet, Georgia Air National Guard state air surgeon, says the key leader engagement is an important step towards strengthening the partnership between both nations.
“Today was a key day in the future of our collaboration with the Argentinian Air Force medical service.” Lairet said. “Key leaders have come together to share ideas, share knowledge, share experiences and learn from each other. Also, we’ve come to establish a way ahead on how we can better learn from our experiences and further our cause in caring for our patients.”
Leaders from both countries emphasized how these types of medical engagements ultimately provide real-world benefits.
“I think the union between our Air Forces helps us act in solidarity whenever a disaster strikes and a disaster response effort is needed,” said Argentinian Air Force Commodore Horacio Hunicken, National Institute of Aeronautical and Space Medicine director. “If we work together and know each other, we’re better able to work together and respond better during a natural disaster or relief effort. Moving forward, these kinds of events benefit all of us.”
U.S. Air Force Col. Kathleen Jones, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) command surgeon, highlighted the importance of bringing Argentinian and Air National Guard personnel together during the exchange, as the Georgia Air National Guard will serve as a critical resource to their Argentinian counterparts moving forward.
“This engagement is a great boost to our relationship with our medical partners in the Air National Guard,” Jones said. “Ensuring a good introduction of the Georgia Air National Guard is critical as we now have expanded our ability to build a firm and lasting relationship with Argentina.”
“We are now much better aware of the areas in which we can learn from our Argentine partners and those in which we can assist them,” Jones said.