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Hawaii ANG marks 5 years of air defense exchanges with Philippines

Chief Master Sgt. Melvin Yamamoto, superintendent, 154th Security Forces, coins Philippine Air Force Master Sgt. Manuel Galvez

Chief Master Sgt. Melvin Yamamoto, superintendent, 154th Security Forces, coins Philippine Air Force Master Sgt. Manuel Galvez during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the HIANG and the PAF, Aug. 15, 2017, Clark Air Base, Philippines. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Members of the Philippine Air Force receive a briefing and tour of Hawaii Air National F-22 Raptor operations and facilities

Members of the Philippine Air Force receive a briefing and tour of Hawaii Air National F-22 Raptor operations and facilities, Sep. 22, 2017, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Philippine Air Force Brig. Gen. Antonio Ramon Lim, commander, 5th Fighter Wing, PAF and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Scott Oka, commander, 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard discuss the capabilities of the KC-135 Stratotanker

Philippine Air Force Brig. Gen. Antonio Ramon Lim, commander, 5th Fighter Wing, PAF and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Scott Oka, commander, 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard discuss the capabilities of the KC-135 Stratotanker, Sep. 22, 2017, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bleys Wright, an RF transmission systems specialist with the 169th Air Defense Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, shows radio transmission equipment to members of the Philippine Air Force

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bleys Wright, an RF transmission systems specialist with the 169th Air Defense Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, shows radio transmission equipment to members of the Philippine Air Force, Sep. 19, 2017, Mt. Kaala Air Force Station, HI. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Philippine Air Force airmen test out the use of an RF Detector in a PAF radar facility at Wallace Air Station, Philippines

Philippine Air Force airmen test out the use of an RF Detector in a PAF radar facility at Wallace Air Station, Philippines, Aug. 23, 2017. The RF detector was brought to Wallace Air Station by members of the Hawaii Air National Guard taking part in a National Guard State Partnership Program Subject Matter Expert Exchange. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Hawaii Air National Guard Airmen are given a tour of the Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 aircraft

Hawaii Air National Guard Airmen are given a tour of the Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 aircraft during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the HIANG and the PAF, Aug. 15, 2017, Clark Air Base, Philippines. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Master Sgt. Michael Cho, a command and control battle management operations craftsman with the 169th Air Defense Squadron is shown a picture of radar equipment

Master Sgt. Michael Cho, a command and control battle management operations craftsman with the 169th Air Defense Squadron is shown a picture of radar equipment during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the HIANG and the PAF, Aug. 16, 2017, Clark Air Base, Philippines. The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program which builds relationships through military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

Master Sgt. Eugenio Mariano, radar maintenance technician, 169th Air Defense Squadron, explains the use of an RF Detector to Philippine Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vince Antipastia

Master Sgt. Eugenio Mariano, radar maintenance technician, 169th Air Defense Squadron, explains the use of an RF Detector to Philippine Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vince Antipastia, Aug. 22, 2017, Wallace Air Station, Philippines. Mariano was taking part in a National Guard State Partnership Program subject matter expert exchange between the HIANG and PAF. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

Hawaii Air National Guard air defense experts recently completed a subject matter expert exchange with their counterparts from the Philippine Air Force, marking the fifth straight year the HIANG has partnered with the PAF to exchange ideas on air defense as the Southeast Asian country goes through a military modernization effort.

 

The exchanges took place during the months of August and September and began with HIANG Airmen traveling to several locations in the Philippines to discuss various air security concepts with the PAF.

 

While there, HIANG airmen interacted with various levels of the rank and file of the PAF: from airmen just beginning their military careers to senior leaders from some of the highest levels of the PAF organization.

 

For the first time since the exchanges have been taking place, Brig. Gen. Gregory S. Woodrow, commander, 154th Wing was a part of the in-country team to lend some general officer expertise and credence.

 

“[The United States] works hard to strengthen our alliances throughout the Pacific,” said Woodrow. “The best way to do that is to pursue relations at the personal level as we educate and encourage each of our allies in their quest for better defense.”

 

Maj. Colin Yoshimitsu, a mission crew commander with the 169th Air Defense Squadron and engagement planner for the exchange, explained that having general officers of the two Air Forces meet during the exchanges represents a leap forward and a maturing of the relationship.

 

“The program has evolved in that our senior leadership have volunteered to be more engaged with the leaders of the Philippine Air Force," Yoshimitsu said. "Ultimately, we need the support of leadership on both sides for both organizations to move forward.”  


The exchange was part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, which links a state's National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.

 

As the partnership progressed through the five years of engagements, so has the level of interaction and topics of discussion.

 

“Our partnership has evolved and has grown with new objectives throughout the years,” said Yoshimitsu. “We began our first year of the basic mission of the Hawaii Air National Guard and the Operation Noble Eagle mission we accomplish at the 169th Air Defense Squadron. In subsequent years we have expanded [the exchange] to include focus on training, procedures, checklists, maintainers, and flight medicine.”


The exchanges involved table top discussions, question and answer sessions as well tours and surveys of the varying components that make up an air defense system.


While visiting Clark Air Base, the HIANG team took in a tour of the PAF’s FA-50 Light Attack Aircraft. The FA-50 is a hallmark of the Philippine Armed Force's moderation efforts.


“As the Air Defense Command of the Philippine Air Force focuses on their upgrade and modernize their new air defense system, the HIANG team has centered the subject matter expert exchanges from the tactical arena to the operational and strategic.” Yoshimitsu said. 

 

Tours and exchanges were not geographically exclusive to the Philippines. PAF personnel were also able to tour HIANG operations when the exchange moved to Hawaii.

 

“The state partnership program really grows out of an alliance that we have with the Philippine Air Force and it’s symbolic of our strong relationship across the Pacific.” Woodrow said.

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