African Partnership Flight Angola 2014 came to a close on March 28 after a full week of events involving airmen from the Angolan, U.S. and Zambian air forces.
U.S. participants included Airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, as well as the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron aligned under Air Mobility Command.
“We chose to partner with Angola and Zambia for this African Partnership Flight to bring Southern African Development Committee nations together, and to build strong ties between our air forces,” said Lt. Col. Pete Larsen, APF mission commander.
About 200 participants divided into three groups to discuss topics on disaster relief operations, mission planning, and equipment preparation for airlift.
“I thought the discussions that took place this week were very beneficial. I was with a group who had real experience,” said Zambian Flight Sgt. Guevara Nohlovu. “Me and my Zambian counterparts learned a great deal.”
The Airmen included in the mission planning discussion covered joint doctrine, maintenance, contingency response, multi-national operations and airspace planning.
“It gave us an opportunity to look through doctrine, the differences in how we operate, and the challenges that come along with that,” said Larsen.
Using a 37th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules as a learning tool, participants in the equipment preparation for airlift group had interactive discussions on aircraft weight and balance, preparation of cargo for airlift, material handling equipment and ground safety.
“We had great discussions and found a lot of similarities, particularly with the Zambians because their cargo loading processes are very similar to ours. They have dedicated cargo specialists like we do in the U.S.,” said Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Leonard, APF lead planner. “The Angolans were very open, but had very different processes than us so we learned a lot through the discussions.”
According to Zambian air force Lt. Joe Kamalata, the disaster relief discussions focused on topics including public and mental health considerations, public relations and crisis communication, and contingency response planning.
“Our nations face the same kinds of disasters- for example, floods and droughts,” said Kamalata. African Partnership Flight helps us understand how each air force responds and allows us to work together to prepare for future disasters.”