Saturday, March 24, 2012

Flight Training Program Ends In Accra: U.S. Air Forces Africa's African Partnership Flight

A two-week flight training programme code-named "The African Partnership Flight (APF) 2012", yesterday ended in Accra.

The military to military multilateral and regional event was sponsored and coordinated by the US Air Force and hosted by Ghana. Airmen from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Togo and Benin participated in the event.

Lieutenant General Peter Augustine Blay, Chief of Defence Staff, in a speech read on his behalf by Rear Admiral Mathew Quarshie, Chief of Naval Staff, said the importance of training to the military profession cannot be over emphasised.

"The need to be educated and have a good knowledge of best practices is very crucial to the success of any modern Air Force," he said.

Lt-Gen. Blay said the purpose of the APF training programme is to teach skills and exchange ideas that are universal to all aircraft and all Air Forces.

"It will help develop regional cooperation between partner nations," he said.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Michel Samson-Oje, said the training programme, offered a rare opportunity for the Ghana Air Force to train and interact with Air Forces of other African countries.

"We have been introduced to different and more modern ways of doing things and generally, our efficiency has been immensely improved upon," he said.

Air-Vice Marshall Samson-Oje said the training programme encouraged a collaborative approach towards ensuring security, adding that, where a situation requires the cooperation of two or more countries, such training programmes make it a lot easier.

Major General Margaret Woodward, Commander of the 17th Air Force and US Air Forces in Africa, said it has become clear over the course of the training that "When we promote the unique capabilities of air-power and cooperate regionally, we will be stronger, more inter-operable and more capable of meeting the operational challenges we all face".

She expressed the hope that the training programme will lead to even stronger regional partnerships in future.

The training programme was designed to enhance the Air Force capacity of African Partner Nations and foster greater regional cooperation, to enable increased air security.

Participating airmen were taken through drills in search and rescue, air-field security and loading of aircraft.

The flight training programme was attended by 140 airmen from the six participating African countries, and 60 airmen from the US.

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