Air advising, it’s a family affair
By Master Sgt. Christopher Bates, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron
/ Published April 06, 2017
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Growing up watching her father put the uniform on day in and day out motivated her to follow in his footsteps and become an Airman, but she never imagined she would get the opportunity to serve alongside her hero.
It was all made possible through the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, which is charged with strengthening partner nation’s capabilities. The squadron trains, advises and assists partner nations in developing airpower capabilities.
A year ago Master Sgt. Alejandro Medina, a 571st MSAS air advisor, noted the need to bolster the Guatemalan Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. He quickly suggested his daughter, Senior Airman Giannina, a sensor operator at Creech AFB, Nevada, to come aboard to help.
During the mission to Guatemala, the father and daughter duo instructed 10 partner nation service members and contributed to more than 50 hours of classroom and hands-on training.
"It was exciting hearing her talk about her students, what she helped them with and seeing her involved in such an important role," Medina said. "I'm glad that she got to see another side of the Air Force mission and how the MSAS impacts the national strategic plans."
Giannina explained that working alongside her father was one of the coolest things she’s done throughout her Air Force career.
“It’s hard for me to pick a favorite moment from the Guatemalan mission because I was able to be a part of something so amazing,” Giannina said. “I taught a whole new curriculum to an entire different country, with a different mission, in a different language and to top it all off, my father was right by my side.”
Giannina was pivotal in developing new checklists for reconnaissance operations which enabled her to earn a hard to come by patch from the Guatemalan Air Force students and leadership.
“Working with the Guatemalan Air Force was an experience that I will never forget,” Giannina said. “I was able to see the military from a completely different point of view. The students that I had the opportunity to teach were very eager to learn and open to talk about our different experiences not only in life, but in our work environment as well.”
Though they didn't have the same students, they were able to have lunch together every day and talk about their class and how they interacted with them.
“Hearing how proud my daughter felt about the work she was doing with the Guatemalan Air Force made me extremely proud of her and happy I steered her in the United States Air Force direction,” Medina said.
In addition to teaching ISR, the 15-manned mobile training team also conducted aircraft maintenance, tactics and procedures, first aid and CPR training along with a number of other courses.
The team also was involved in a community outreach opportunity where they delivered various school supplies to a local orphanage.