"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
This African proverb was referenced several times during a disaster relief seminar hosted by the Nigerian air force at the National Defense College here, Jan. 27-30. More than 40 senior service members from various career fields and units all over Nigeria attended the seminar to discuss capabilities for contingency operations.
Throughout the week, briefings and discussions covered topics such as logistics, airlift support, medical and public affairs. There were also two scenarios introduced that required seminar attendees to brain storm as teams and use the briefings to develop their own plans for responding to the crises.
"The U.S. has gone through the process and has mitigated disaster. This is a way for us to share knowledge and experience. Ideas have been presented that we haven't thought of," said Nigerian air force Group Capt. F.C.S. Uwakara. "Knowledge is power, and when you have the knowledge you have the power to overcome any circumstance. Seminars like this help us find ways to solve our own problems."
Under the direction of U.S. Africa Command, personnel from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, and the 621st Contingency Response Wing also took part in the seminar by delivering crisis planning briefings on best practices used by the U.S. Air Force during disaster relief operations.
"It is important for us to attend seminars like this with our partner nations," said U.S. Air Force Col. David Poage, USAFE-AFAFRICA Plans, Programs and Analyses Directorate, building partnerships division chief. "By sharing our best practices and learning what works for the Nigerian air force, we enable ourselves as well as our partners to develop more effective crisis response plans for the future."
Members of the Nigerian air force also facilitated discussions and shared personal experiences regarding contingency operations.
"For Nigeria, we have had our own share of disaster relief operations, just like everyone else," said Nigerian air force Group Capt. E.O. Shobande. "This coordination needs to happen. Synergy is very, very important."