JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Twelve years since their last engagement in Jamaica, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy returned to the country June 14-25 to instruct its Defence Force during Mobile Training Team 21-15.
IAAFA teamed up with the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron to assist 12th Air Force in teaching four of eight classes at Up Park Camp and the Caribbean Military Aviation School in Kingston, Jamaica. It was the first deployment for the 318th Training Squadron since the Coronavirus outbreak in 2019.
“That was a hallmark of flexible problem-solving entities of both the JDF and ourselves of being able to make it happen despite a lot of restriction,” said Lt. Col. Margaret Serig, 318th TRS Operations Training Flight commander.
The engagement was conducted to help students learn fixed-wing system components by conducting aeromedical training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The training also helped enhance JDF capability and counter-threat operations.
Sixteen students participated in the IAAFA-led courses that included the Aircraft Maintenance Superintendents Course, Fixed Wing Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief, Aircraft Structural Maintenance Course and Aircrew Operations.
“It was a good first-go,” Serig said. “I think it went well for not having been out and about.”
The MTT proved successful, however, it was not without problems. IAAFA instructors faced challenges when one of the courses was canceled at the last minute and another class required more instruction than originally planned.
According to Staff Sgt. Manuel Lalane Tristan, 318th TRS Crew Chief instructor, the instruction was facilitated by adding more examples to help students develop their understanding.
“On MTTs you kind of have to adapt because you want to give them the best we have to offer, without breaking any rules,” Lalane Tristan said. “We were there to give them what they needed.”
Although the Corrosion Control Course was canceled, JDF students were able to use the new mobile paint simulator as part of another course. The two-week engagement concluded with a search and rescue exercise that tested students on the skills taught in class.
“What they found most helpful was the ability to understand how we operate and the things that they can do to improve what they have,” Lalane Tristan said.
The engagements with partner nations provide an exchange of information not only for the international military members but also for IAAFA.
“Security cooperation is huge for us. They help our instructors get familiar with what partner nations need, therefore when they come back and rewrite our course they can incorporate those learned lessons,” Lalane Tristan said.