TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif --
Between April 19-20, leaders of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, met with U.S. Army advisor leaders with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, to tour 1st SFAB’s annual training assessment events.
Additionally, both units identified operational capabilities and future joint training opportunities by introducing and connecting their respective mission sets and current operations in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.
“We are beyond excited to collaborate with our joint counterparts so we can more effectively leverage our advisor networks, effects and access in SOUTHCOM AOR,” said Lt. Col. Robert Chance, the 571st MSAS commander. “The Army and 1st SFAB have really set the example on what conventional advising needs to look like, and USAF Air Advisors have a lot to learn from them.”
From this meeting, both units agreed to explore cooperating on upcoming training efforts. For example, the MSAS is heavily involved in transforming its air advising mission-set through an iterative exercise series under Air Mobility Command’s Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023 umbrella. This includes a big lift in June at Exercise Advisor Edge 2023 which will also include Air Advisors from the other MSAS in the 621st Contingency Response Wing: the 818th MSAS at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Exercise Advisor Edge has evolved to be the premier annual exercise venue where Air Advisors push the envelope to test and validate tactics, technique and procedures that get after the high-end fight.
Additionally, the 1st SFAB executes its own established exercise series that culminates in a deployment readiness certification event. According to Chance, cooperation at these exercises and other similar venues will only serve to enhance future joint advising efforts.
“Partnering with U.S. Army Advisors will surely help the entire advisor enterprise synchronize and develop capabilities to build partnership capacity and interoperability,” said Capt. James Hejna, the 571st MSAS readiness flight commander.
The 571st MSAS leadership team also met with the Army’s Military Advisor Training Academy schoolhouse cadre, which trains all advisors for all regionally aligned SFABs. By observing and participating in the 1st SFAB's Fundamental Phase Assessment Training Event, the subsequent discussion with MATA cadre helped validate the need to provide sister service training opportunities: USAF Air Advisors at the Army training academy, and vice versa.
“Learning each other’s processes will help us improve our joint capacity to best serve our partner nations for the future,” said Hejna.
Lastly, the 571st MSAS met with 18 international field grade officers studying joint planning at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. WHINSEC is a Latin American-focused Intermediate Developmental Education equivalent for the U.S. Army, sister services and SOUTHCOM partners. This engagement included a class covering the MSAS’s mission brief, conducted in Spanish, with follow-on dialogue on how to incorporate air advisors into partner nation respective capabilities through embassy engagement.
All of this serves as just another building block in the right direction for an already strong foundation and partnership between the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.