AF maintenance team works with Chileans to build a more secure tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Airmen from the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) recently spent four weeks training members of the Chilean air force, while participating in the U.S. Southern Command’s priority of building partner capacity through sustained engagement.

Master Sgt. Jeremy Jacobs, a 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) tactical aircraft manager, was the team lead for the four-week training session that focused on perfecting F-16 Fighting Falcon maintenance procedures and the use of night vision goggles. The training took place in Antofagasta and Iquique, Chile.

"It was really rewarding to work with them, but the partnership that we've developed with them has been very instrumental," Jacobs said. “Sometimes it's not about the assistance that you provide, but what you can learn from the individuals you’re assisting, and during this trip I've learned a lot from the Chilean air force.”

Alongside him was Master Sgt. Cari Webb, the 563rd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment superintendent, and Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Kelley, a Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 avionics instructor.

Jacobs and his team visited Chilean air force bases and were able to work with members of the Chilean air force and stand up a system to be used in Antofagasta, which led to members being fully qualified.

"This experience has been both useful and important for both sides and has brought us closer together for the overall goal of success," said Chilean air force Sargento 2 Andres Bahamondes-Velasquez.

During their time in Chile, the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) members were able to successfully meet all training objectives while also establishing a strong partnership.

"Working with the members from the United States Air Force has been amazing," said Chilean air force Cabo 1 Pedro Aguilera, a life support technician. “Their knowledge of the different systems is great, but I think the part that amazed me was when I was able to actually assist them and showed them a few different ways to do things that make the different pieces to the equipment last longer and make common task(s) more efficient,"

The U.S. team has been partnering with the Chilean air force for the last 15 months, and during that time has seen success from working with the Chileans and looks forward to future endeavors.

"To see the members of the Chilean air force pick up on the information, while being able (to) fully understand the information is very good, but the remarkable part is that they’re able to then find ways of actually improving what we've been able to explain to them,” Webb said. “That ingenuity is propelling their air force in the right direction.”

The 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) continues to have active engagement with Central America, South America and the Caribbean, which contributes to the security of the U.S. and those regions. The U.S. military continually builds this regional security through sustained engagement with U.S. partner nations to deter adversaries, preserve stability, support allies and partners, and cooperate with others to address common security challenges.