Local

November 2, 2012

Belgian airman brings experience to Luke

Tags:
Staff Sgt. C.J. HATCH
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Belgian Commandant Michael Artiges stands in front of his new home, the 308th Fighter Squadron. He came to Luke Air Force Base as part of the Military Personnel Exchange Program to serve an instructor pilot for three years. The MPEP at Luke has 10 positions – seven pilots, two maintenance officers and one logistics officer.

Many people know about Luke Air Force Base’s foreign units the 425th Fighter Squadron, and the 21st FS, but there are other foreign officers here as part of an international exchange program.

The Military Personnel Exchange Program has given one pilot with the Belgian air force the opportunity to come here to learn, as well as help teach new B-course students.

Belgian Commandant Michael Artiges, 308th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, was selected from five candidates for two exchange positions, one in Portugal and one in the U.S.

This is not his first time in the U.S. as a pilot. In 1996, Artiges spent nine months as a B-Course student in Tucson learning to fly with the Arizona National Guard.

“My experience in Tucson was to help the Belgian air force better understand how training in the U.S. was compared to ours,” he said. “There are more flying days and other differences we used to better our program. Unfortunately, after about five classes they canceled the program.”

This time is different for Artiges since he brought his family.

“It’s a challenge being back,” he said. “When you’re alone, it’s easy to fix the small things that come up, but now with the family here, it’s a different ballgame. It was challenging for my family at the beginning, but now that school is fixed and the children are in classes, my wife has been able to return to school to better her English.”

Living in the U.S. was a goal for Artiges and his wife, but the process to get here took him a few tries.

“This was not my first time applying to the program,” he said. “I tried before with no luck. My wife and I were hoping to get into the program, specifically the position in the U.S., and finally we got it.”

Now as part of the Emerald Knights he is going through familiarization training.

“I am almost done with my initial training,” he said. “The training is to familiarize me with the aircraft I will be flying here. After that, I will start my instructor pilot training and soon after begin training incoming pilots.”

Artiges is not alone as an exchange officer at Luke. In fact the base has positions for officers from a number of countries.
“Luke has 10 exchange officer authorizations: seven pilots, two maintenance officers and one logistics officer,” said Greg Daniels, 56th Fighter Wing foreign disclosure officer.

The program has been around since the early ‘90s and hosts pilots from countries including Chile, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Portugal and Turkey. It also has authorizations for maintenance officers from Thailand and Poland, and a logistics officer from Ecuador.

“MPEP promotes mutual understanding and trust, between the U.S. Air Force and international air forces,” Daniels said. “It also furthers the coalition warfighting capability of both air forces, strengthens air force-to-air force ties, and develops long-term personal and professional relationships.”

Depending on the position being filled, exchange officers do different things.

“Once qualified, pilots instruct and supervise upgrading pilots in F-16 flying operations,” Daniels said. “Maintenance officers through observation, research, and hands-on training will gain familiarity with repair shop and flightline maintenance management. Our logistics officer integrates the full spectrum of logistics processes within the operational and acquisition environments.”

The training for an exchange officer at Luke can range anywhere from six to eight months Daniels said.

“This partnership helps both countries,” Artiges said. “The Belgian air force deploys to areas where the U.S. Air Force is, and we have to work together. Already having the experience of working with each other can make it less stressful for both countries.”

The MPEP also helps support the U.S. Air Force Global Partnership Strategy.

“MPEP is one of the most effective building partnership tools the U.S. Air Force employs,” Daniels said. “It facilitates long-lasting air force-to-air force relationships through personal connections between U.S. and partner-nation airmen. These relationships create long-term opportunities for increased cooperation and understanding, as many former exchange officers will advance to senior levels within their air forces.”

For the Artiges family, this is not just a chance to fly with the U.S. Air Force but a chance to explore a country they have wanted to visit for a long time.

“My family and I plan on taking advantage of the time we’re here,” he said. “We have a list of places to visit like Washington, D.C., and obviously Disneyland. We will make the most of our three years and hopefully expand our cultural experiences.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Courtesy photo

D-models return to flight after longeron repair

Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr. An F-16D Fighting Falcon undergoes repairs to the longeron due to cracks. This is one of the last aircraft to be repaired.   Air Force officials removed 82 two-seat F-16D Fighting Falcons fro...
 

 

Holiday services

Holiday hours Commissary Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day Exchange Closed Christmas Day Chapel 623-856-6211 Luke Air Force Base Community Chapel Saturday: Catholic Children’s Christmas program will be held at 6:15 p.m. Sunday: Protestant Contemporary Gospel service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday: Catholic Christmas Family Mass will be...
 
 

Decking the halls …

Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer Andrea Mathis, 56th Force Support Squadron Fighter Country Inn accounting clerk, decorates a Christmas tree Dec. 4 in the lobby at the Fighter Country Inn at Luke Air Force Base. Base lodging is available to active-duty service members, retirees and dependents on a space-available basis. For more information, call 623-856-3941.
 
 

News Briefs December 12, 2014

Kachina Gate closure The Kachina Gate will be closed to inbound traffic through Dec. 19 for gas valve repair. Outbound traffic will not be affected. For more information, call 623-856-7051. Tax season volunteers The 2015 tax center is looking for one volunteer to serve as site coordinator and volunteers to serve during the 2015 tax...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin