818 MSAS Airmen share best practices with Nigerien Air Force

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  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Case

Airmen assigned to the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron shared best practices with 58 aircraft maintainers in the Nigerien Air Force regarding their C-130 program. They assessed the Nigerien aircraft maintenance program.

This mission was a military-to-military exchange allowing subject matter experts in the U.S. Air Force to discuss different facets of Air Force operations with partner nations in Africa. Niger is a key American ally in the Sahel region of Africa, where terrorist groups and criminal organizations threaten regional security and prosperity. The United States gave the Nigerien Air Force three C-130 aircraft in recent years. It used these aircraft to forward deploy military forces and United Nations peacekeepers in Niger and neighboring countries.

“While interacting with the Nigerien Air Force, I was extremely impressed with their level of aircraft maintenance knowledge,” said Master Sergeant Felipe Pent, 571st MSAS Aircraft Maintenance Air Advisor. “Additionally, they routinely use this knowledge to maximize the limited number of resources they possess to keep their aircraft flying missions.”

This engagement included numerous areas of a functioning maintenance program including safety, training, and establishing back shop operations. The Nigerien Air Force is currently working on instituting their first wheel and tire back shop for their fleet of C-130’s, C-208’s, and helicopters to improve their abilities to assemble and repair their wheel and tires. Additionally, this engagement provided ways forward for problems the Nigerien Air Force is experiencing in many areas of their maintenance program.

The engagement by the 818th MSAS helped strengthen the military relationships between the United States and Niger, contributing to the strong relationship between the U.S. Embassy Office of Security Cooperation in Niamey, Niger, and their Nigerien counterparts.

The 818th MSAS used two aircraft maintainers from the 571st MSAS and Puerto Rico Air National Guard to assist in the engagement. This relationship with other Air Advising units is key to the success of the 818th MSAS and highlights the combined abilities of Air Advisors across the total force of the U.S. Air Force.

“This mission to Niger was truly an eye-opening experience,” said Master Sergeant Jesus Rivera, 156th AMXS. “It was a challenging and humbling opportunity to make a difference in the Air Force of a key American ally and am grateful for the experience.”

This advising mission will inform future training with the Nigerien Air Force that the U.S. Embassy has planned. The 818th MSAS has been involved in numerous areas of training the Nigerien Air Force for over ten years. The work ethic and dedication of these maintainers are crucial to the success of the Nigerien Air Force. They will continue to enhance the partnership between the United States and Mauritania.