Latin American Air Force cadets tour US, build partnerships throughout the hemisphere

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U.S. Air Force Maj Ryan Rutter, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot, shows Colombian Air Force cadet Santiago Navarro the aircraft flight deck during a tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 30, 2019, for the Latin American Cadet Initiative. All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. Air Forces Southern is responsible for all U.S. Air Force assets and engagement within U.S. Southern Command. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

Future leaders of 11 Latin American Air Forces visited 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) on the tail-end of their visit through the United States, as part of the Latin American Cadet Initiative, Oct. 30, 2019.

The Latin American Cadet Initiative offers the top two cadets from each Latin American Air Force Academy the opportunity to participate in the three and a half week program.  The Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs office has been operating this program for the last 13 years.

“These cadets are very likely to become colonels and generals in their Air Forces,” said U.S. Air Force Toya Brown, Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs country director for the western hemisphere. “So if they are able to see and understand now how we operate in the United States Air Force, it makes it that much easier to do those cooperative agreements in the future.”

U.S. Airmen explain the functions of a A-10 Thunderbolt II to participants of the Latin American Cadet initiative at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct 30, 2019. The Latin American Cadet initiative offers two cadets from each Latin American Air Force academy the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to learn about how the U.S. Air Force operates and visit U.S. Military Academies and unique missions. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

The twenty-two cadets represented air forces from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. Air Forces Southern is responsible for all U.S. Air Force assets and engagements within U.S. Southern Command.

Ecuadorian Air Force cadet Anthony Espana, Latin American Cadet Initiative participant, takes a photo of an A-10 Thunderbolt II bullet during a tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 30, 2019. All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was the last stop for the cadets before returning home. While there, they received a hands-on tour of a HH-60 Pave Hawk and an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. They also visited and learned about the missions at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces, and Air Forces Southern.  

 “It’s been an amazing trip. We met people from all around the world, all of the Latin cadets and also from international week at the [U.S. Air Force] Academy, [where] we made very good friends,” said Argentine Air Force cadet Ivo Santilli. “All the people that we met here we know are going to be future officers in their Air Force, so it’s good to create these relationships.”
 

U.S. Airmen explain the functions of a HH-60 Pave Hawk to participants of the Latin American Cadet initiative at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct 30, 2019. All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

 
Ecuadorian Air Force cadet Dayanara Ocampo Latin American Cadet Initiative participant, speaks with U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colby Cantrell, 55th Helicopter Maintenance Unit HH-60 crew chief, about the aircraft during a tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 30, 2019. All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

 
Colombian Air Force cadet Santiago Navarro Reyes, and cadets from 11 Latin American Air Forces listen to a mission briefing for the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces during a tour of units at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct 30, 2019. The 22 cadets represented air forces from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay Peru, and Uruguay. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

 
Cadets from 11 nations with the Latin American Cadet Initiative learn about the A-10 Thunderbolt II and HH-60 Pave Hawk during a tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force BaseAriz., Oct. 30, 2019. All of the countries that participated except Mexico fall under the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

 
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, asks participants of the Latin American Cadet Initiative a question during a mission briefing at the Air Forces Southern headquarters, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct 30, 2019. The Latin American Cadet initiative offers two cadets from each Latin American Air Force academy the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to learn about how the U.S. Air Force operates and visit U.S. Military Academies and unique missions. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)

 
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colby Cantrell, 55th Helicopter Maintenance Unit HH-60 crew chief speaks with Brazilian Air Force cadets with the Latin American Cadet Initiative about the aircraft during a tour of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 30, 2019. The 22 cadets represented air forces from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay Peru, and Uruguay. (Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz)