MSAS returns to Panama, teaches first academic instructor course

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Robert Ramirez
  • 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron (MSAS) completed academic instructor and initial assessment training with the National Air and Naval Service of Panama, also known as SENAN, across multiple locations within the Republic of Panama from June 1-26, 2018.


The 571st MSAS has completed mobile training team (MTT) missions in Panama approximately once a year since 2015.


This year marked a milestone event for the 571st MSAS, as this was the first time they created and administered an academic instructor course for partner nation service members. 


Nine SENAN instructors were taught the course in the duty specialties of aircraft maintenance, petroleum oil lubricants (POL), materiel management and aircrew flight equipment (AFE). 


The SENAN instructors received instruction on effective presentation and briefing skills and had the opportunity to create lesson plans, which they eventually taught to other SENAN students within their duty specialties.


 “After this training, I feel prepared to apply the knowledge provided by MSAS to guide and instruct new people from our institution,” said Cpl. 1st Class Ricardo Zarate, a member of the SENAN AFE work center, who completed the academic instructor’s course.


According to Staff Sgt. Anthony Colon-Matos, 571st MSAS, POL air advisor, this effort is critical to the development of institutionalized training programs that will improve the sustainability of capabilities within the SENAN, which will further support the U.S. national objectives of “Building Partnership Capacity” within the region.


"As a new member of the 571st MSAS, this was a wonderful experience.  Our Panamanian partners always possessed a positive attitude, a passion for learning and a desire to progress within their fields,” Colon-Matos said. “It was a pleasure and an honor to be an influential part of this training.”


Additionally, the 14-person team conducted initial assessments and training in the areas of airfield management, aviation weather, command and control, and intelligence.  This will set the stage for building increased capabilities within these specialties over the next several years of training with the SENAN. 


“With the training provided by the 571st MSAS, the SENAN personnel have reached a level of proficiency necessary to develop our different career fields and to comply with international rules and standards,” said Capt. Edilberto Chávez, officer in charge of the SENAN POL work center at Panama Pacificó Air Base.


Approximately 235 hours of assessments, seminars, and hands-on practicum took place at five bases within the Panama City location, graduating 63 SENAN personnel from multiple duty specialties.  The MTT event culminated in a SENAN-wide training event at the remote forward operating base of Nicanor AB, which provided the newly-trained SENAN instructors an opportunity to provide realistic training to other students within the SENAN. 


The overall efforts will continue to bolster the SENAN’s ability to conduct joint air and maritime operations against criminal threats, such as narcotics trafficking, while building partnerships for enduring regional security cooperation efforts.


“As a new mission commander in our unit, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of the training and relationships we have built with our partner nations within the region,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Shea, MTT mission commander. “I was immediately impressed by the motivation, ingenuity and hard work exhibited by the SENAN service members, along with the leadership, inspiration, and instruction from our MSAS team members.  I could not be more proud of both of their performances during this MTT.”