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PACAF hosts Philippine airmen, strengthens relations

Philippine air force (PAF) Chief Master Sgt. Nelson Mercado, PAF Sergeant Major, dons pilot gear during an F-22 static display tour at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 25, 2019.

Philippine Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Nelson Mercado, Philippine Air Force sergeant major, dons pilot gear during an F-22 Raptor static display tour at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 25, 2019. U.S. and Philippine air forces to participated Airman-to-Airman talks, discussing initiatives to better their readiness and effectiveness to respond to real-world challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux)

A group of U.S. and Philippine air force Airmen look at an F-22 Raptor during a tour at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 25, 2019.

A group of U.S. and Philippine air force Airmen look at an F-22 Raptor during a tour at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 25, 2019. The Philippine Air Force visited JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in Airman-to-Airman talks, an annual event where the two air forces discuss upcoming events and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux)

Philippine air force (PAF) Maj. Gen. Nicolas C. Parilla (right), PAF acting vice commander, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Russell Mack, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) deputy commander, sign the meeting minutes after the closing remarks during PAF-PACAF Airman-to-Airman talks, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 27, 2019.

Philippine Air Force Maj. Gen. Nicolas C. Parilla, Philippine Air Force acting vice commander, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Russell Mack, Pacific Air Forces deputy commander, sign the meeting minutes after the closing remarks during Airman-to-Airman talks, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 27, 2019. The two air forces participate in exercises, such as Bilateral Air Contingency Exchange-Philippines and Balikatan to increase readiness, interoperability and support peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Philippine Air Force service members visited Pacific Air Forces Headquarters for Airman-to-Airman, or A2A, talks to increase interoperability and enhance their relationship Feb. 24-27, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Maj. Gen. Russell Mack, PACAF deputy commander, highlighted the long-standing friendship between the U.S. and Philippines and how military-to-military engagements are key to its continued success.

“This is our primary means to review the effectiveness of our engagements and explore areas of opportunity to further develop our overall strategic roadmap looking further out than we have in the past,” Mack said during his opening remarks. “Airman-to-Airman talks are also about strengthening our service to service relationships while working toward common goals for both our air forces with a long-term focus on regional peace, security and stability.”

The bilateral delegation of U.S.-Philippine Air Force airmen, led by Mack and Maj. Gen. Nicholas C. Parilla, Philippine Air Force vice commander, discussed initiatives to better their readiness and effectiveness to respond to real-world challenges.

“Our air forces will promote and secure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific through the exploration and pursuit of mutually agreed areas of cooperation,” Parilla said. “Let us work hand in hand and be better at what we do together. Now is the time to be excited, inspired and for us to work together with enthusiasm in shaping our activities for 2020.”

The two air forces participate in exercises, such as Bilateral Air Contingency Exchange-Philippines, and Balikatan, to increase readiness, interoperability and support peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

“As Airmen, we share many common goals and we can make a difference by collaborating to enhance peace, security and stability in this region,” Mack said. “Only by maintaining solid relationships with our allies, combined with the continued improvement of our inherent airpower capabilities, can we continue to be successful when faced with a crisis.”

This was the seventh A2A talk between the two air forces and the first since a 2017 forum in Manila, Philippines.

PACAF is involved with a number of A2A talks throughout the Indo-Pacific region with other ally and partner nations to continue to build strong relationships.

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