Members of the Alaska Air National Guard join Mongolian counterparts, discuss future Air Force engagements Published July 24, 2023 By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund 176th Wing Public Affairs JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK -- In late May, the Pacific Air Forces’ headquarters at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, welcomed airmen from the Mongolian Armed Forces Air Force Command, the U.S. Air Force and the Alaska National Guard for the third Airman-to-Airman talks. This mutual exchange provided an avenue for relationship building, best practices sharing, and collaborative planning for future engagements between Mongolian and U.S. air forces. “We share a common purpose: to protect our countries and promote global security and stability,” said Alaska Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Ken Radford, director of the Joint Staff for the AKNG and co-chair of the A2AT. “Our militaries work together on a regular basis, and the Airmen-to-Airmen talk is another example of the strong bond that exists between our two nations.” Throughout the event, attendees divided into four working groups: operations, exercises and engagements, logistics, medical, and professionalization and education. Subject matter experts within the groups evaluated the effectiveness of previous engagements, identified goals for future collaboration, and developed strategic, long-term plans. Five members of the AKANG participated in the engagement, providing expertise in airlift and rescue aviation, Arctic and expeditionary medical, and airfield logistics. “It was a very fulfilling mentoring conference as I got to understand what challenges [the MAF AFC] are facing and what we can do to help them progress,” said Air National Guard Maj. Paul Padilla, 176th Medical Group clinic nurse. “The representatives were gracious and friendly, and have an earnest desire to grow. I look forward to any further opportunities to work with them in the future.” During the medical sessions, Padilla discussed modernization of flight and operational medical programs with a medical representative from the Mongolian Armed Forces and an international health specialist from JBPHH, offering regional expertise in high-altitude, cold-weather medical operations. 2023 also marks a special year for the relationship between the Alaska National Guard and the Mongolian Armed Forces as they celebrate 20 years of bilateral relations through the State Partnership Program. This partnership emphasizes deep continuity and long-term relationships as military and emergency management personnel in both nations can participate in engagements multiple times throughout their career. “Alaska and Mongolia have a rich partnership due to a whole-of-society relationship spanning interagency ties and similarities in cold climate and dispersed populations,” Radford said. “The real work is ongoing as we continue to improve our air forces, our capabilities and our partnership to build alliances and bonds to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” Looking to the future, the MAF AFC and the AKANG left the A2AT with an actionable framework spanning the next five to ten years of exercise participation, academic opportunities and continued force development.