BASA AIR BASE, Philippines (AFNS) --
Airmen from the Pacific Air Forces area of responsibility traveled to Basa and Clark Air Bases, Philippines, to conduct several Subject Matter Expert Exchanges with airmen from the Philippine Air Force, Jan. 23 through 27, 2023.
The SMEEs involved discussions of munitions, maintenance, logistics and hot pit refueling and were held as a precursor to cooperation in future large exercises in the Indo-Pacific region.
“These SMEEs are really great collaborations between the two forces and lay the foundation toward a more detailed execution like Balikatan and Cope Thunder,” said Philippine Air Force 1st Lt. Carlo Emmanuel Canlas, event lead. “It’s important for the PAF and PACAF to improve coordination so future operations and exercises can be successful.”
Throughout the five-day event, PACAF Airmen discussed topics with their PAF counterparts, such as explosive safety, expeditionary munitions storage, protective facility designs, logistics to move the force from one location to another, hot pit operations, flying hour programs and maintenance scheduling.
“We were able to share our different programs with each other, which was incredibly insightful,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rainier Raquion, 154th Wing Maintenance Operations, NCO in charge of Flight, Plans and Scheduling.
Hawaii is one of the State Partners of the Philippines through the State Partnership Program—or SPP—which began in 2000. One key aspect of the SPP links a unique component of the Defense Department–a state's National Guard—with the armed forces, or equivalent, of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
Through the SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. The program also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.
At the end of the exchanges, both nation’s Airmen gathered for a debrief where leaders discussed the progress that was made and what they hoped to accomplish with future engagements.
“This was an incredibly successful SMEE,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jennifer Nuanes, 154th Wing, Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer. “It wasn’t just the information sharing that made it successful. It was the sharing of our cultures, our food and our experiences that built deeper relationships between our two countries. I look forward to future engagements and further enhancing these strong bonds.”