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17th Air Force Hosts First Military Exchange from Burkina Faso
The 17th Air Force, also known as U.S. Air Forces Africa, recently took another step forward in building meaningful relationships with African nations when it hosted the first-ever visit by a delegation of Burkina Faso officers to an American base
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Captain David Geiger, far left, outlines base entrance security procedures at Ramstein Air Base for a delegation of officers from Burkina Faso in August 2009. They are, from left, Lieutenant Dabir Dapr Paul, Major Souleymane Ouedraogo, and Captain Hubert Yameoga. The group was the first-ever military exchange from Burkina Faso to visit Ramstein Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Captain David Geiger, far left, outlines base entrance security procedures at Ramstein Air Base for a delegation of officers from Burkina Faso in August 2009. They are, from left, Lieutenant Dabir Dapr Paul, Major Souleymane Ouedraogo, and Captain Hubert Yameoga. The group was the first-ever military exchange from Burkina Faso to visit Ramstein Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd) Download full-resolution version
RAMSTEIN, Germany - General William "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, speaks with members of the 17th Air Force (U.S. Air Forces Africa) after visiting their newly remodeled Ramstein Air Base headquarters, August 11, 2009.  Also in attendance were three military officers from Burkina Faso, who were participating in a week-long familiarization course on base security. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd, 17th Air Force)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: RAMSTEIN, Germany - General William "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, speaks with members of the 17th Air Force (U.S. Air Forces Africa) after visiting their newly remodeled Ramstein Air Base headquarters, August 11, 2009. Also in attendance were three military officers from Burkina Faso, who were participating in a week-long familiarization course on base security. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd, 17th Air Force) Download full-resolution version
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Captain David Geiger, far left, outlines base entrance security procedures at Ramstein Air Base for a delegation of officers from Burkina Faso in August 2009. They are, from left, Lieutenant Dabir Dapr Paul, Major Souleymane Ouedraogo, and Captain Hubert Yameoga. The group was the first-ever military exchange from Burkina Faso to visit Ramstein Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd)
RAMSTEIN, Germany - General William "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, speaks with members of the 17th Air Force (U.S. Air Forces Africa) after visiting their newly remodeled Ramstein Air Base headquarters, August 11, 2009.  Also in attendance were three military officers from Burkina Faso, who were participating in a week-long familiarization course on base security. (Photo by Technical Sergeant Alec Lloyd, 17th Air Force)
The 17th Air Force, also known as U.S. Air Forces Africa, recently took another step forward in building meaningful relationships with African nations when it hosted the first-ever visit by a delegation of Burkina Faso officers to an American base in Germany in early August 2009.

Led by Major Souleymane Ouedraogo, base commander of Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso, the group of three officers spent a week studying security practices at Ramstein, Vogelweh and Spangdahlem air bases.

Seventeenth Air Force members collaborated with the various security forces squadrons to provide demonstrations of entrance security, flight line procedures, arms room protocols, canine training and overall base security command and control.

Master Sergeant Mike Lund of the 86th Security Forces Squadron was impressed by the visitors' enthusiasm and intensity. "You can tell that they came here to learn," he said. "They are asking all the right questions."

The delegation was pleased to be included in General William "Kip" Ward's meeting with 17th Air Force members on Tuesday, August 11. The commander of U.S. Africa Command welcomed the delegation during his remarks.

"We were most impressed by how he took advantage of that opportunity to welcome us and say how important it is to build relationships with African countries," said Ouedraogo.

That afternoon, the delegation travelled to Vogelweh Air Base for a demonstration of proper take-down techniques, with a particular emphasis on using the least amount of force necessary to regain control of a situation. Airman 1st Class Monique Young of the 569th U.S. Force Protection Squadron participated in the presentation. "It was a great experience," she said. "I'm proud to be part of this first exchange. They listened 110 percent - I was struck by how attentive they were to the details."

Senior Master Sergeant Gloria Ornelas is the Security Forces Manager of the 569th. Her knowledge of French helped provide additional instruction and facilitated communication during the visit to the Vogelweh facilities. This also included inspecting a patrol car and all-terrain vehicle, as well as a hands-on-demonstration of the Firearms Automated Training System.

"It was good to have them here," Ornelas said. "It has been a wonderful interchange."

Captain Hubert Yameoga is a member of the Burkina Faso Gendarmerie, the police organization that has responsibility for the civilian side of the base. He said the most impressive aspect of the instruction was what he called the mentalite behind it - the organization, integration and coordination of USAF base security. He singled out arms room procedures as an excellent example of combining safety and efficiency.

Lieutenant Dabire Dapre Paul, the third member of the delegation, agreed. He said that changes in attitude are the hardest to effect, but had hope for the future. "If we can have contacts with you, it will help us train."

Major Ouedraogo said that the visit was the first step in helping make that change. "What we have seen here will affect our behavior," he said. "We are thinking more about safety." He added that he was very pleased by the reception his delegation received.

"The hospitality was wonderful. Every unit we have seen has been well-prepared to receive us and welcome us. It was wonderful. You cannot do better."
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