BASE AEREA CORONEL FRANCISCO SECADA VIGNETTA AIR BASE, Peru –
Eight 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air advisors trained 35 Peruvian military service members with Grupo Aereo N. 42 between Aug. 22 to Sept. 8.
The purpose of this training was to build partner capacity and showcase interoperability between the United States Air Force and the Peruvian Air Force equivalent, known as Fuerza Aérea de Peru (FAP).
“I really enjoyed educating, and working alongside members of Grupo 42,” said Staff Sgt. Sukhpreet Chinna, a 571st MSAS air advisor. “With the assets and experience of our team, we are able to execute this engagement and build relationships with ease.”
What makes this training special, is that it marks the first time in history that air advisors from the USAF have trained with the FAP in Iquitos, Peru.
Chinna said despite it being their first time together, “it felt more like a routine visit” based on the cohesive bonds formed during training.
“I think we were able to build a great foundation for future engagements like this with Fuerza Aérea de Peru service members,” said Chinna. “After our training concluded, I believe we enhanced their ability to conduct operations more rapidly when responding to security threats in the Amazon region.”
During the 20-day training engagement, MSAS air advisors trained FAP service members, officer and enlisted, on aerial port operations, cargo load planning, supply and aircraft maintenance through classroom instruction, hands-on training and multiple exercises in order to improve the FAP’s capabilities for real-world situations and global exercises. In particular, the DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft was a focal point during their out-in-the-field training between two air force military service organizations.
From the classrooms to community involvement, the FAP and USAF also spoke about their shared common value and importance of supporting their nation’s most vulnerable species. In Peru, one animal conservation status that is being threatened right now is the Amazonian manatee.
To help with conservation efforts of these endangered animals due to illegal hunting, climate change and/or habitat loss, both units teamed up to provide essential landscaping tools and feeding supplies needed to maintain the Amazon Rescue Centers within the local area.
“What we gained during training with the U.S. Air Force was extremely beneficial for our country,” said Lt. Carlos Benzaquen-Cancela, a FAP DHC-6 instructor pilot. “I also believe this type of training allowed myself to expand my knowledge and skillset by sharing our different experiences together and through hearing about alternative ways to operate efficiently.”
While this type of training was a historical leap towards common warfighting goals between two partner nations, it also served as a benchmark to strengthen USAF partnerships and build upon a strategic value of being able to work more seamlessly together in the future.