Air advisors help build maintenance, flying operation capabilities for Guatemalan Air Force

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Christian Ramos
  • 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron

AURORA AIR BASE, Guatemala City -- A team of six members from the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron conducted training with the Guatemalan Air Force Sept. 4-30, at Aurora Air Base, Guatemala City.

The focus of the Guatemala mission was to build partnership capacity in the areas of aircraft maintenance, fuels and flying operations.

“The mission was way overdue,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Colon-Matos, 571st MSAS Mobility Training Team sergeant and fuels technician. “We haven’t been able to follow up previous engagements due to the pandemic. We are ready to get up to speed and provide the top-notch training that we are known for.”

Implementing an effective fuels program with current regulations, hazardous material guidelines and manuals was a top priority, said Colon-Matos.

“Fuels programs are essential for aircraft operation,” said Colon-Matos. “If the adequate preventive maintenance and service is not done properly to fuel equipment or the fuel itself, it could cause major issues from damaging aircraft to a serious accident.

MSAS has continued to build on the relationship they have with the Guatemalan Air Force through training events such as this to enhance interoperability and demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to the region..

Tech. Sgt. Sergio Salayandia, 571st MSAS aircraft maintenance technician, led the project to transform the Guatemalan Air Force’s maintenance enterprise. He worked with Guatemalan aircraft maintenance personnel to implement new standards of operations, guidance and processes to develop their day-to-day maintenance operations.

“We have been working on this project over three years and finally we are closer to the finish line,” Salayandia said. “The final changes are almost complete and they can start implementation in 2022. It has been a lot of hard work and dedication, but very rewarding seeing the final product and how it will revolutionize the Guatemalan Air Force.”

The 571st MSAS air advisors are experts in their respective career fields and are specially trained to instruct highly technical courses to a culturally diverse Spanish-speaking audience.

This engagement provided Guatemalan forces with the necessary tools to expand their capabilities, take their flying hour’s program to the next level to better enable them for future operations, said Capt. Reyes, Guatemalan pilot commander.

“The goal of this MTT was to reconnect and to provide a more persistent presence in Guatemala in order to increase the partner nation’s capacity,” said Capt. Francesca Rubio, 571st MSAS MTT mission commander in upgrade. “In this month, we have successfully laid the groundwork for the Guatemalan Air Force to build a safer, smarter and more efficient force.”

The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, known as the Águilas (Spanish for “eagles”), has built partnerships throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean since their inception just over a decade ago. The squadron is made up of less than 70 subject matter experts and air advisors charged with assessing, training, advising, assisting and equipping partner nations within the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.