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.


 
 

 
square

Luke conducts first F-35 training deployment

Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis prior to take off April 15 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Ten F-35s from the 61st Fighter Squadron were sent to Nellis for th...
 
 

The gift of leadership

Gen. Mark Welsh III may have said it best, “Leadership is a gift. It’s given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it.” As the people of this nation give their children up to serve in the armed forces we as leaders need to be ready to lead them as they are...
 
 

Have faith in Air Force system

Throughout our Air Force careers, we have all received extensive training covering the Air Force core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. We talk about them on a daily basis in one capacity or another using them as buzz words to drive our point home or steer a...
 

 

Sidewinders fly missing-man formation

A missing-man formation flyover took place at the Air Force Academy Cemetery April 14, to honor a fallen Airman whose remains were repatriated and laid to rest. Pilots from the 311th Fighter Squadron of the 54th Fighter Group from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, flew it. Capt. Richard Chorlins, U.S. Air Force Academy class...
 
 

Birth of a flagship

Courtesy photo An F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility just before its first flight March 31. This jet is one of several Lightning IIs destined for Luke Air Force Base in the near future after flight testing. Tail number 5056 is scheduled to be the 56th Fighter...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

Days of Remembrance There will be a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Luke Air Force Base Chapel sanctuary. The Hiding Place exhibit will be on display 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 1 in the chapel annex. AFA golf tournament The 16th Annual Air...
 




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