West Virginia ANG hosts inaugural air-to-air staff talks with Peru Published Sept. 29, 2020 By Maj. Holli Nelson West Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AFNS) -- Senior leaders from the West Virginia Air National Guard hosted an inaugural air-to-air staff talk with representatives from the Peruvian Air Force, U.S. Embassy Lima and Air Forces Southern at the Clay Center for the Performing Arts and Sciences in Charleston, Sept. 23-25. The workshop brought together key personnel from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), Military Assistance & Advisory Group (MAAG) – U.S. Embassy Lima, the Air Forces Southern liaison officer from Peru, Assistant Air Attaché to the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C., Peruvian Air Force Maj. Gen. José Luis Barrios Espinosa, and representatives from the WVANG. The Peru air staff talks program is designed to promote bilateral efforts in order to develop professional partnerships and increase interaction between partner nations. The overall goal of the three-day talks were to promote peace and stability in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, through mutual understanding, partnership and cooperation. During the workshop, both countries pledged to build upon their pre-existing bond, and used the event as an opportunity to formalize the framework of future interactions while providing a strategic forum to promote professional relationships and coordinate engagement activities. The two forces settled in for a series of presentations, to include the review of engagements between the two nations during 2020, a Peruvian brief on the current mission and vision of the Peruvian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea del Peru) as well as their plan for institutional development through fiscal years 2021 through 2025, and a brief discussion on events coordinated by the West Virginia National Guard through the State Partnership Program. In addition to the formal presentations, both delegations took time to break into working groups to discuss topics such as aeromedical evacuation, En-Route Patient Staging System, cyber, RC-26, education, non-commissioned officer professional development, disaster response and other topics. Both partners also agreed to seek ways to participate in upcoming events of mutual interest being held in both West Virginia and Peru in the future, including exercise Vigilant Guard and the humanitarian airlift operation, Alas de Esperanza, or Wings of Hope. “We know this is the first of many bilateral air-to-air staff talks and a continued lasting friendship that we can build upon between our two forces,” said Col. Bill Annie, 167th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group commander. On the last day of the conference, Brig. Gen. Christopher S. Walker, assistant adjutant general- Air, thanked the participants for their hard work and dedication, emphasizing that long-term relationships with Peruvian partners are built through the personal-engagement events that are planned at this workshop. “This is an extremely important event that has plans of action to interchange topics on defense and security as well as the elements we’ll have to consider to counter new threats to the security of our region,” said Peruvian FAP Col. Alberto Nunez del Prado, assistant to the Peruvian Air Attaché in Washington, D.C. “This will allow us to draw conclusions which will enrich and stoke the developments of our institutions.” The West Virginia National Guard has a formidable reputation with the Republic of Peru, due to the dedication and trust of the leaders of the organization and our partnership significantly enhances U.S. objectives and lines of efforts in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. In just over 24 years, Peru and West Virginia have partnered together for more than 120 interactions between the forces providing insight into regional challenges facing the Andean Ridge, especially in the areas of counter-insurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, risk mitigation, disaster response and recovery.