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571st MSAS training engagement with Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service

Master Sgt. Brandon VanWalraven, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron mobile training team sergeant, speaks with the Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service dog handlers, April 1, 2019.  The team of six dog-handlers trained from March 26 through April 6 on new dog handling techniques to improved their day-to-day operations at the Juan Santamaria International Airport and other remote posts across Costa Rica. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Noelle DeRuyter)

Master Sgt. Brandon Van Walraven, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Mobile Training Team sergeant, speaks with the Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service dog handlers at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica, April 1, 2019. The team of six dog-handlers trained from March 26 through April 6 on new dog handling techniques to improve their day-to-day operations at the airport and other remote posts across Costa Rica. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Noelle DeRuyter)

Master Sgt. Natasha Titemore, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment instructor, demonstrates the capabilities of a HGU-56/P helicopter helmet to members of the Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service, March 29, 2019.  The SVA members completed the 2-week course in preparation of their new established AFE work-center in the Base 2 facilities located at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in Costa Rica. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert Ramirez)

Master Sgt. Natasha Titemore, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment instructor, demonstrates the capabilities of a HGU-56/P helicopter helmet to members of the Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica, March 29, 2019. The SVA members completed the 2-week course in preparation of their new established AFE work-center in the Base 2 facilities located at the airport. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert Ramirez)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) --

The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron completed a training event with the Air Vigilance Service, or SVA, of Costa Rica from March 23 through April 12 across two locations near the capital city of San José.

This fundamental training was the 571st MSAS’ second full training engagement in Costa Rica, offering partners in the area courses from law enforcement and dog handling to aircraft maintenance, safety and aircrew flight equipment.

Over 340 hours of assessments, instruction and seminars took place at Pavas International Airport and at Base 2 located in the Juan Santamaría International Airport in a period of three weeks, graduating 50 SVA personnel from several duty specialties.

Master Sgt. Wynee Diaz, an air advisor augmentee, from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, said the safety and AFE courses were the newest programs in their initial stages of development.

“Safety is integral in every work center, the training events with our Costa Rican police force partners have been a success,” Wynee said. “SVA gave us the opportunity to implement this program focused in a safer and healthier culture for everyone.”

The students were proud and enthusiastic about being a part of these newly established work centers and were eager to learn the essential concepts of their new trade.

“The training offered by the United States Air Force significantly helped the SVA identify safety hazards across base,” said Agent Ramses Robles, SVA police agent and helicopter pilot. “I believe that in the near future, we’ll be able to prevent and mitigate risks by encouraging a safety-oriented culture within our personnel, creating a safer operational environment.”

Another groundbreaking program was the aircrew flight equipment course, which provided initial training for six SVA agents.

“Over the course of the last two weeks, I have realized that not only have they learned from me, but I have learned from them,” said Master Sgt. Natasha Titemore, 571st MSAS AFE instructor. “The best part of this career is the education obtained and the opportunity of applying that education and knowledge to further help out our partners’ capability growth.”

The genuine excitement was also shared by members of the SVA team.

“I believe this training provided more in-depth knowledge about the Pratt and Whitney PT6 aircraft engine,” said Agent Willie Mora, SVA aircraft maintainer. “It’s noticeable how our maintainers’ troubleshooting and problem-solving skills have increased due to the detailed familiarization on this particular engine.”

The training offered by 571st MSAS offers students the chance to apply lessons they’ve learned and connect the dots between classroom studies and real-world issues.

In an effort to help strengthen the SVA’s airport security and air base defense versatility, Tech. Sgt. Adrian Chavez, 349th Air Mobility Wing security forces dog handler, provided guidance for seven dog handlers.

“This is really good training because we have learned new techniques that made us evolve from the limited knowledge that we had to a more robust day-to-day capable force,” said Agent Jairo Venegas, SVA dog handler.

Throughout the team’s time in Costa Rica, the 571st MSAS team accomplished classroom instruction, provided hands-on activities and participated in activities to help build interpersonal relationships with the SVA. These efforts assisted the SVA in improving its ability to conduct air operations against maritime criminal threats, such as narcotics trafficking, bolstered their humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and cemented the partnerships for enduring regional security cooperation.

“The partnership with the Costa Rican SVA is in its earliest stages with the 571st MSAS, but we have already built a strong foundation together,” said Maj. Noelle DeRuyter, 571st MSAS Mobility Training Team mission commander. “The MSAS air advisors enjoy working with the SVA, who are a motivated and enthusiastic corps to work alongside. We hope to continue building on these engagements and increasing our interoperability capability together in the future.”

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