Belize Defense Force works with U.S. Air Force

Friday, June 5th, 2009

The U.S. Air Force “Operation Southern Partner” (OSP) will be in Belize from June 7 – 13 to work with the military personnel of the Belize Defense Force.
More than 45 Airmen from across the U.S. Air Force boarded a C-130J Hercules on Sunday, May 31, to participate in the second mission of Operation Southern Partner in seven Caribbean, Central American, and South American nations. This event, led by the Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), is aimed at providing intensive, periodic subject matter exchanges with partner nation Air Forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of focus.

Operation Southern Partner-Caribbean will include exchanges covering dozens of Air Force career specialties, including Aircraft Maintenance, Search and Rescue, Anti-terrorism, Flight and Ground Safety, Land and Air Navigation, and Firefighting. During their mission, the crew will interface with host nation counterparts in Guyana, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Belize. In addition to subject matter exchanges, training maneuvers will be conducted aboard the transport aircraft. A California Air National Guard C-130J from the 146th Airlift Wing at the Channel Islands, California, will fly several media maneuvers, including an over-water search and rescue jump by a USAF Combat Search and Rescue Team in Belize.

While the primary focus of OSP is military-to-military partnership, Airmen will also have the opportunity to volunteer in local communities. The Air Force Academy Band, Blue Steel, will lead community relations initiatives during daily humanitarian outreach activities, including painting the Stella Maris School building. In addition, the band will be performing at Sister Cecelia’s Retirement Home on June 11, and will perform a public concert at BTL Park on June 12 at 6:30 p.m. The band is also scheduled participate in an exchange with the Belize Defense Force band.

“Operation Southern Partner is a tremendous opportunity for U.S. Airmen to work alongside partner nation Airmen — learning from each other new processes, tactics, techniques, and procedures to increase the effectiveness of our Air Forces during future operations, natural disasters, or humanitarian aid responses. The goal is to provide expertise to host nation Air Forces on the flight line, in the back shop, on base, and in the community while building and strengthening partnerships between professional Airmen,” said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, the 12th AF (AFSOUTH) commander.
Operation Southern Partner was conceived by AFSOUTH Theater Security Cooperation Division to complement to ongoing USSOUTHCOM Theatre Security Cooperation events. The first OSP event took place in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay in October 2008.

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