CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senior leaders from the West Virginia Air National Guard hosted an inaugural air-to-air staff talk with representatives from the Peruvian Air Force, U.S. Embassy Lima, and Air Forces Southern at the Clay Center for the Performing Arts and Sciences Sept. 23-25.
The workshop brought together key personnel from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), Military Assistance & Advisory Group (MAAG) – U.S. Embassy Lima, the Air Forces Southern liaison officer from Peru, assistant air attaché to the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C., Peruvian air force Maj. Gen. José Luis Barrios Espinosa, and representatives from the WVANG.
The program promotes bilateral efforts to develop professional partnerships and increase interaction between partner nations. The goal of the three-day talks was to promote peace and stability in Central and South America and the Caribbean, through mutual understanding, partnership, and cooperation.
During the workshop, both countries pledged to build on their existing bond. They reviewed the 2020 engagements between the two nations. The Peruvians briefed on the mission and vision of the Peruvian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea del Peru) and their plan for institutional development through fiscal 2025. And they discussed events coordinated by the West Virginia National Guard through the State Partnership Program.
The SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense - a state's National Guard - with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
In addition to the formal presentations, both delegations split up into working groups to discuss aeromedical evacuation, En-Route Patient Staging System (ERPSS), Cyber, RC-26, education, noncommissioned officer professional development, disaster response, and other topics. Both partners agreed to seek ways to participate in upcoming events of mutual interest in West Virginia and Peru, including Vigilant Guard and Alas de Esperanza.
“We know this is the first of many bilateral air-to-air staff talks and a continued lasting friendship that we can build upon between our two forces,” said Col. Bill Annie, 167th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group commander.
Brig. Gen. Christopher S. Walker, assistant adjutant general - air, thanked the participants for their hard work and emphasized the importance of long-term relationships built through the events planned at the workshop.
“This is an extremely important event that has plans of action to interchange topics on defense and security as well as the elements we’ll have to consider to counter new threats to the security of our region,” said Peruvian FAP Col. Alberto Nunez del Prado, assistant to the Peruvian air attaché in Washington. “This will allow us to draw conclusions which will enrich and stoke the developments of our institutions.”
In just over 24 years, Peru and the West Virginia National Guard have partnered for more than 150 interactions providing insight into regional challenges facing the Andean Ridge, especially in the areas of counter-insurgency, anti-terrorism, emergency preparedness, risk mitigation, disaster response and recovery.