TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) — The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron sent a 15 member mobility training team to the Republic of El Salvador to conduct training for two weeks.
The MTT’s mission was to train and advise the Latin American expeditionary forces to deploy in support of the U.N.’s peacekeeping efforts in the Republic of Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa.
El Salvador is Central America’s smallest and most densely populated country, but is the region’s largest contributor to this U.N. peacekeeping mission.
The 1st air brigade has been supporting the U.N. in Mali since 2014, but will soon undertake new responsibilities in firefighting, air traffic control, airfield management and weather operations.
The MTT executed more than 170 combined hours of instruction to 48 students that will be assigned to one of the new operational areas. However, the uncertainty of the scope of responsibility Salvadorans will face in Mali required the instructors to dynamically tailor their course material to the mission their students would face in a foreign geographical area.
“As air advisors we want to provide our partner nations with the best quality training the (U.S.) Air Force can offer,” said Capt. LaDarian Outsey, the MTT’s mission commander. “When we work with our partner nations, we seek to provide them with the most tangible training and enlighten them with current techniques and procedures. With their upcoming Mali deployment, we sought to tailor the course work to facilitate what they can expect to see in Mali. Doing this will have a direct impact on how the Salvadoran military conducts their contingency operations.”
This approach empowered the MTT’s instructors to both train and make observations that resulted in key recommendations to prevent potential downrange mission degradation.
The MTT’s firefighting instructors, Master Sgts. Johnathan Hall and Golangia Jenkins, noticed a critical error in the Salvadoran firefighting team’s purchase order. Their actions enabled the Salvadorans to repurpose $10,000 in “not needed” purchases, and purchase critical lifesaving equipment.
“Identifying the incorrect item on their purchase order early enabled them to cancel the order and request the proper equipment for safe emergency operations,” Hall said. “Without this equipment they would not have been able to effectively perform their duties in Mali.”
“I’d like to thank the 571st MSAS air advisors for their dedication and for taking the time to prepare my team for the challenges it will soon face,” said Lt. Col. Robert Baires Hernández, Salvadoran 1st air brigade unit commander.
The 571st MSAS is charged with strengthening partner nation’s capabilities and the squadron trains, advises and assists partner nations in developing airpower capabilities. The unit includes Spanish-speaking Airmen and is aligned with the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
“Air advisors are a key asset in the Air Force’s enduring Building Partner Capacity mission,” Outsey said. “Each successive engagement assists to achieve freedom, stability and prosperity in the region, and contributes to USSOUTHCOMM joint intermediate military objectives.”