ACCRA, Ghana -- U.S. Air Force Airmen and twelve African partner nations concluded an African Partnership Flight in Ghana Sept. 16.
Co-hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa and the Ghanaian air force, the five-day event brought together air forces from around Africa.
"APF is really unique because it’s a military-to-military event. Typically, during a mil-to-mil event, you go to one country and have one objective but APFs are so diverse and we are able to focus on multiple objectives simultaneously," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Aaron Charbonneau, USAFE-AFAFRICA APF Ghana mission planner.
In all, APF Ghana hosted participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia to help strengthen relationships and share best practices through classroom instruction and hands-on training.
APFs are comprised of multiple workshops designed to provide diverse experiences to different African countries at one time. The events serve as stepping stones to providing persistent diplomatic, informational, humanitarian and economic outreach efforts that support the diverse people and nations in Africa.
“My goal was to familiarize the partner nations with expeditionary air base defense,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brad Little, 435th Security Forces Squadron contingency response force team lead. "We went over entry control procedures, small unit tactics and introduction to military operations on urban terrain."
Airbase defense was one of the many topics collaborated during APF Ghana, it also included deployment command and control; airfield standup and operations; airbase logistical support; C-130 tactics, techniques and procedures; and aerial patient movement. In addition, 20 Ghanaian army paratroopers jumped from a C-130J Super Hercules in order to maintain certification on personnel drops.
"The dynamic was great, a lot of them [partner nations] had similar procedures they did already so it wasn't just teaching, it was sharing their own experiences and techniques, which is what we are here to do," said Little.
Two to three APF workshops are held each year in a different country with the goal of promoting regional cooperation to strengthen the ability of African militaries to work together.
For Mauritania air force 1st Lt. Ramdhane Haimoud, an intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance pilot, the experience provided valuable hands-on instruction not taught back home.
"This was my first APF experience and it was a nice one, I learned a lot and will be able to train my friends when I go back home," said Haimoud.
APF Ghana demonstrated the ability of multiple nations working together, while providing opportunities to build important personal relationships.
"It's was a very interesting, there was a lot of information that was shared between countries and it was a great opportunity for us to get to know each other and train together," said Haimoud.
AFAFRICA is committed to conducting multilateral military-to-military engagement and security assistance with African air forces in order to build aviation capacity, enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability.