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Inter-American Partnerships

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Janiqua P. Robinson
  • Airman Magazine

 

The Inter-American Air Forces Academy’s mission, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, is to provide military education and training to military personnel of eligible partner nations. To accomplish this, IAAFA partners with 23 countries to teach 32 curricula to include Professional Military Education, aircrew training and technical training. 


"Partnership with other nations is how we strengthen our democracies and protect our national sovereignty from increasingly capable adversaries."
Army Gen. Laura Richardson, Commander, U.S. Southern Command


“Our partners are our best defense to counter shared threats, and the military-to-military training programs offered by IAAFA and other service academies are a vital means toward achieving the integrated deterrence necessary to defend our Western Hemisphere’s neighborhood of nations,” Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command. "I know that if we continue to jointly strive to enhance our spirit of unity and cooperation, we will continue to build a region of unmatched progress, peace, and prosperity.”

The students and instructors featured were photographed and interviewed on their first day of a 12-week Pilot Instrument Procedure Course, or PIP-C. Among many other lessons and skills, these students will learn instrument flight fundamentals, advanced navigation procedures and how to manage irregular situations in instrumental meteorological conditions, all while the class utilizes fixed-wing simulators.
 

Capt. Marilyn Urrutia L.

Capt. Marilyn Urrutia L. is a weapons officer from Peru and is currently in the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. The program is designed to teach pilots from Latin America instrument flight fundamentals while also building and maintaining interoperable relationships between the U.S. Air Force and Latin American air forces. 

00:33

Capt. Zacarias Estrada-Vega

Capt. Zacarias Estrada-Vega is from Pachuca, Mexico, is currently a partner nation guest instructor for the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. His team uses flight simulators to teach pilots from various Latin American air forces advanced navigation procedures as well as the rules, regulations and best practices of the U.S. Air Force.

00:49


IAAFA has changed names and locations a few times since it was founded on March 15, 1943. A request from Peru’s Minister of Aeronautics, Gen. Fernando Melgar asked the U.S. to deploy mechanics to train Peruvian airmen on the technical skills required in repairing and maintaining the aircraft engines they donated. As a result, 11 Peruvian students at Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone, became the first U.S. aeronautics training class in Latin America. 
 

First Lt. José Montagno

First Lt. José Montagno is a pilot in the Second Air Brigade in the Uruguayan Air Force and is currently in the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. Montagno is excited to graduate and bring the knowledge and experiences he’s gained here, back to his subordinates and peers. 

01:11

Capt. Tebbit Brown

Capt. Tebbit Brown is a pilot in the Honduran Air Force and is currently a partner nation guest instructor for the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. Brown has been in the U.S. for eight months and loves this opportunity to teach pilots from various Latin American countries. 

01:03

IAAFA courses are taught exclusively in Spanish, which saves time and money for both the U.S. Air Force and partner nations by eliminating the need for a longer course that would also teach the students English. For PIP-C, each instructor applicant is interviewed to ensure they can effectively communicate the technical and intricate details of flight procedures in Spanish. Applicants can come from various allied air forces, but before these partner nation instructors can begin to teach, they must graduate from the 12-week Instructor Pilot Instrument Procedures Course. This course combines the technical and regulation knowledge the students receive in PIP-C with additional lessons in instructional methods, flight evaluation, supervision of classroom instruction, and the standardization cadre development, lesson plans and student evaluation.
 

Maj. Aníbal Báez.

Maj. Aníbal Báez is a pilot in the Dominican Air Force and is currently a partner nation guest instructor for the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. Báez has been teaching this course for two years and is honored to be here representing his country while relishing, what he feels, is one of the best experiences a pilot can have. 

00:57

Capt. Johanna Santacruz

Capt. Johanna Santacruz is a transport and intelligence and reconnaissance pilot in the Ecuadorian Air Force and is currently in the IAAFA instrument procedures course. Santacruz says Ecuador is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; she’s extremely excited to participate in this program and is grateful for the opportunity to bring her knowledge back to other pilots in Ecuador. 

01:09

"If you start tracking these individuals for five or 10 years, you’ll find that they become wing commanders, they become generals, they become chief master sergeants."
Col. José Jiménez Jr., IAAFA commander

“When you look at the people that come through IAAFA, these nations are sending us the best of the best,” explained Col. José Jiménez Jr., IAAFA commander. “If you start tracking these individuals for five or 10 years, you’ll find that they become wing commanders, they become generals, they become chief master sergeants. That tells me that not only are we providing good training to help these folks grow, but also that these countries see the importance of an academy like IAAFA.”


Lt. Col. Daniel Antunez

Lt. Col. Daniel Antunez is a pilot in the Paraguayan Air Force and is currently a partner nation guest instructor for the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. He is finishing up his two-year tenure at IAAFA and feels his experience teaching pilots and instructors has been a milestone in his career. He is grateful for the positive impact the program has had on him, his wife and their five children. 

01:57

Capt. Mario Garces

Capt. Mario Garces is a helicopter pilot from the Colombian Air Force and is currently in the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. Garces explained that the topography of Colombia makes flying there difficult, and he’s excited to foster positive relationships with his classmates from other Latin American countries and expects to learn a lot during this course. 

01:44

Maj. David Landenberger

Maj. David Landenberger is a transport pilot from the Brazilian Air Force and is currently training to become a partner nation guest instructor for the IAAFA pilot instrument procedures course. Landenberger has been in the U.S. for three weeks. In his home country, transport missions include hauling voting equipment, healthcare equipment, diplomats and politicians. 

01:14

"It’s the individual interactions that we provide our partners that make the largest difference."
Col. José Jiménez Jr., IAAFA commander

IAAFA is continuously evolving based on what the partner nations are looking for and where the trends in global security cooperation are projected to go. This means adapting the curriculum to include cyber disciplines, incorporating innovative technology to enhance training and ensuring the instructors are disciplined and motivated professionals. 

"At the end of the day, it’s not the simulators, it’s not the curriculum,” Jiménez stressed. “It’s the individual interactions that we provide our partners that make the largest difference."

 

 
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