Air advisors promote HA/DR skills at African Partnership Flight

U.S. Air Force Capt. Ian Mazerski, 321st Contingency Response Squadron maintenance flight commander, talks with African Partnership Flight participants during a table top workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Ian Mazerski, 321st Contingency Response Squadron maintenance flight commander, talks with African Partnership Flight participants during a table top workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants listen to the instructor during classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF was designed as a combined learning environment for both U.S. and African partner nations in order to build aviation capacity, enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants listen to the instructor during classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF was designed as a combined learning environment for both U.S. and African partner nations in order to build aviation capacity, enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Robert Kent, 305th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer, speaks to African Partnership Flight participants during classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. Over the course of one week, instructors comprised of U.S. Air Force will work with, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco in classroom discussions and training workshops in maintenance and logistics support for light utility aircraft. It will examine the maintenance and logistics requirements necessary to forward deploy light utility aircraft in response to HADR efforts to include pre-departure preparation, execution and sustainment, and deployment conclusion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Robert Kent, 305th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer, speaks to African Partnership Flight participants during classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. Over the course of one week, instructors comprised of U.S. Air Force will work with, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco in classroom discussions and training workshops in maintenance and logistics support for light utility aircraft. It will examine the maintenance and logistics requirements necessary to forward deploy light utility aircraft in response to HADR efforts to include pre-departure preparation, execution and sustainment, and deployment conclusion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants take a short break in between class discussions in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants take a short break in between class discussions in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Johnny Hall, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air advisor aircraft maintenance, assists Mounkoro Panka, left, Mali air force, with a meal ready to eat during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. African Partnership Flight in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Johnny Hall, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air advisor aircraft maintenance, assists Mounkoro Panka, left, Mali air force, with a meal ready to eat during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. African Partnership Flight in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Participants of African Partnership Flight talks with Titinga Frédéric Pacéré, during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Participants of African Partnership Flight talks with Titinga Frédéric Pacéré, during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Chief Master Sgt. Kone Seydou,  Cote d’Ivoire air force, African Partnership Flight participant asks questions during the classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Chief Master Sgt. Kone Seydou, Cote d’Ivoire air force, African Partnership Flight participant asks questions during the classroom discussion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 18, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants discuss their solutions to a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief scenario in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

African Partnership Flight participants discuss their solutions to a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief scenario in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Johnny Hall, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air advisor aircraft maintenance, talks with African Partnership Flight participants during a table top workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Johnny Hall, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron air advisor aircraft maintenance, talks with African Partnership Flight participants during a table top workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 20, 2017. The intent of APF is to build strong transparent partnerships that enhance regional stability and security through formal alliances, partnerships and simple exchanges of information. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Malick Traore, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron flight commander, and Col. Ric Trimillos, center, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa division chief of international affairs, thanks Titinga Frédéric Pacéré for his hospitality during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. Pacéré is the founder and curator of the Musee de Manega museum preserving local Burkina traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Malick Traore, right, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron flight commander, and Col. Ric Trimillos, center, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa division chief of international affairs, thanks Titinga Frédéric Pacéré for his hospitality during a cultural tour near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 17, 2017. Pacéré is the founder and curator of the Musee de Manega museum preserving local Burkina traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso, gives remarks during closing ceremony of the African Partnership Flight in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 21, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
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Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso, gives remarks during closing ceremony of the African Partnership Flight in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 21, 2017. APF in Burkina Faso hosted participants from Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco to help strengthen relationships and share best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso -- Bonjour and As-Salaam-Alaikum. What do these phrases have in common? They are common ways to say ‘hello’ amongst the seven countries that participated in African Partnership Flight (APF) recently hosted in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In late April, more than 20 Airmen joined 60 counterparts from Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, and Niger to discuss maintenance and logistics principles when planning support for HA/DR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) operations.

Over the course of a week, participants of the Air Forces Africa (AFAF) led event visited an African heritage museum, sat with a regional chieftain, shared a Meal, Ready-to-Eat luncheon, and survived a crash-landing on the moon as part of a team-building exercise. Many of these countries--most of which share a border with at least another APF participant--have never had the opportunity to work together before.

A crucial part of the exercise was facilitated by a nine-person Africa-focused air advisor team from the 621st Contingency Response Wing’s 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, which included three personnel who had previously directly supported HA/DR operations as part of Combined Task Force Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

The air advisor team immediately broke through borders by separating the various participants into different smaller groups. The MSAS facilitators felt it was necessary for the different countries to go outside their comfort zones and solve problems together with partner nations in order to develop critical thinking skills as well as interoperability. The 818th MSAS team from Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst, N.J., was led by two African Foreign Area Officers (FAOs), whose job it is to understand African cultures and peoples. APF was an opportune occasion to interact with multiple African nations during one event and showcase the Air Force officers’ expertise.

“I have worked alongside several of this year’s APF participants in previous bilateral engagements,” said Capt. Megan Gallagher, an FAO assigned to the 818th MSAS. “Through events like APF, participating nations have the opportunity to learn more about one another’s African partners and gain a better appreciation of what defines them.”

Gallagher said it is through exchanges like APF that participants can advance their critical thinking skills and understand how their African neighbors both perceive and seek to solve problem sets.

Capt. Robert Kent, an operations officer assigned to the 305th Aerial Port Squadron, and Capt. Ian Mazerski, a maintenance officer from 321st Contingency Response Squadron, augmented the 818th MSAS team in order to provide their knowledge and experience to lead discussions with the African partners in the realms of logistics and maintenance.

“I was really impressed with the questions the participants asked,” Mazerski said. “It really demonstrated how well they understood the concepts.”

The discussion portion of APF culminated in a tabletop exercise, in which 10, five-man teams were given an opportunity to apply HA/DR planning principles in a choose-your-own-adventure type scenario. Using logistics and maintenance considerations during a hypothetical disaster, they were asked to choose what airport to operate out of, how to set up their equipment on the airfield, which configuration to use on their aircraft, and what critical supplies to bring along. Although teams were rewarded for number of wounded evacuated, supplies delivered, and number of sorties and hours flown, the goal was for them to think critically and make decisions together.

Exercise participants agreed the exercise was a huge success and expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to apply the knowledge shared during APF.

After several long days of navigating scenarios, attendees let loose during a cultural evening where the entire APF was treated with music and traditional dance ensembles from Burkina Faso and the United States.

During the closing ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew Young recognized participants for their dedication and commitment to fostering regional interoperability.

Participants left APF knowing more about each other's cultures and their nations' capabilities to work together as a team.