African Partnership Flight builds Relations Interoperability

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Albert Kirkey, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron aircraft maintenance advisor, talks with Djiboutian air force members about maintenance procedures for the Let L-410 Turbolet aircraft during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015.  APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Advisor talks with Djiboutian Air Force Members about Maintenance Procedures for Let L-410 Turbolet Aircraft U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Albert Kirkey, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron aircraft maintenance advisor, talks with Djiboutian air force members about maintenance procedures for the Let L-410 Turbolet aircraft during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)
A Djiboutian air force member performs a traditional dance as part of a cultural exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015.  APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) Djiboutian Air Force Member performs a Traditional Dance as Part of a Cultural Exchange during African Partnership Flight A Djiboutian air force member performs a traditional dance as part of a cultural exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Leonard, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa loadmaster, discusses cargo pallet inspection procedures with East African air forces members during African Partnership Flight– Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 10, 2015.  APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa Loadmaster discusses Cargo Pallet Inspection Procedures with East African Air Forces Members U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Leonard, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa loadmaster, discusses cargo pallet inspection procedures with East African air forces members during African Partnership Flight– Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 10, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)
A Burundi air force captain tightens a cargo net as part of an aircraft cargo knowledge exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 10, 2015.  APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) Burundi Air Force Captain Tightens a Cargo Net as Part of an Aircraft Cargo Knowledge Exchange A Burundi air force captain tightens a cargo net as part of an aircraft cargo knowledge exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 10, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)
Kenya and Tanzania air force members conduct a vehicle inspection as part of an installation security knowledge exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015.  APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) Kenya and Tanzania Air Force Members conduct a Vehicle Inspection as Part of an Installation Security Knowledge Exchange Kenya and Tanzania air force members conduct a vehicle inspection as part of an installation security knowledge exchange during African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)
Members of the Djibouti air force honor guard render a salute during the closing ceremony for African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean) Members of Djibouti Air Force Honor Guard render a Salute during Closing Ceremony for African Partnership Flight Members of the Djibouti air force honor guard render a salute during the closing ceremony for African Partnership Flight–Djibouti at Djibouti Air Base, Feb. 9, 2015. APF is the premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ian Dean)

Closing ceremonies commenced African Partnership Flight–Djibouti for more than 80 Airmen from six nations at Djibouti Air Base, Feb.11, 2015.

The five-day event, co-hosted by U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa and the Djibouti air force, brought together air forces from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United States to strengthen relationships and share best practices.

“APF–Djibouti brings international Airmen together to discuss how we do business,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Camerer, USAFE-AFAFRICA director of plans, programs and analyses, during closing ceremonies.  “It allows them to talk about their techniques, their tactics and their procedures so that if a crisis were to hit, we have the capability to work together more effectively and efficiently.”

African Partnership Flight is U.S. Africa Command’s premiere program to bring together partner nations to increase cooperation and interoperability, which fosters stability and security throughout the continent.

“African Partnership Flight is all about interoperability,” said Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Leonard, USAFE-AFAFRICA loadmaster.  “Whether it is a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission, it is important for our air forces to have understanding and transparency beforehand, so when the time comes we can execute the mission.”

U.S. Air Force advisors from USAFE-AFAFRICA and the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., facilitated a combination of group discussions and hands-on demonstrations covering core air force topics including cargo load planning, flight line security, crash and fire rescue and aircraft maintenance.

As much as AFP–Djibouti was about sharing professional air force knowledge, it also provided a unique opportunity for partner nations to interact and build relationships.

“Africa Partnership Flight improves our understanding of each other’s cultures,” Leonard stated. “During this five-day event, our air forces have gained a better understanding of not only our operating procedures and aircraft, but also of our cultural backgrounds. We find even outside of the classroom we get a lot of social interaction and a chance to understand each other’s cultures.”

In addition to the cultural experiences providing a unique opportunity the groups are comprised of members from both officer and enlisted forces. This mixed-rank forum allowed for different perspectives to be shared.

“We had people from O-5 to E-5, so we get information from both and operational and tactical level,” said Kenya Air Force Lt. Musoma Lusiola.  “That way, the lieutenant colonel understands how the sergeant feels when leading the soldiers in the field. The sergeant can understand better how the lieutenant colonel will be able to help him. The interactions between different countries, with different experiences and different ranks cannot be overemphasized. ”

Building these types of relationships is critical for the future of East Africa. With an ever-changing regional environment, it is imperative that partner nations are prepared for any challenges they may face.

“Our world is getting bigger, not smaller,” Camerer noted. “And so, by expanding these relationships I think we have taken a unique approach to strengthen security in the region.”

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