SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
U.S. Air Force logistics flight Airmen with the 612th Air Base Squadron hosted 18 maintainers of the Honduran Air Force (HAF) during a building partnerships event, June 17, including six Honduran female aircraft maintainers.
During the event, U.S. Airmen trained HAF maintainers to operate the 10K All-Terrain Forklifts, 25K Halvorsen loader vehicles and Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loaders.
“I wanted to build up and strengthen our partnership since we worked together during the hurricane relief efforts, this past winter,” said U.S. Staff Sgt. Adrian Diaz, demo coordinator and the small air terminals supervisor with the 612th ABS. “I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to showcase our equipment and how we can use it to work together in the future.”
Diaz and his team also ensured their female HAF logistics counterparts were in attendance for an opportunity to operate the equipment and help promote the local Women, Peace and Security Program in Honduras.
“I really liked this because it was the first time I’ve driven this kind of equipment and it’s been a great experience,” said Commando II Lourdes Maribel Gamez, an aircraft maintainer with the HAF. “Seeing everything so well organized is a good experience for me so I can take it back and help try to keep our own equipment in better condition and more organized, as well.”
During hurricane relief efforts last year, Airmen with the 612th ABS and the HAF worked together to unload humanitarian aid supplies and a mobile hospital brought in by U.S. Air Force aircraft.
“They do have similar equipment like ours, but their largest forklift only allows them to lift 4,000 lbs,” said Diaz. “If we can keep training and working together at events like this, we can qualify all of them to operate our 10K All-Terrain Forklift so we can continue to help each other during future operations when needed.”
Learning to operate heavy machinery as an aircraft maintainer is part of the job, but the female aircraft maintainers in attendance learned additional lessons during the demo.
“One of the important parts of this demo was seeing U.S. Air Force females on the flightline and training with us,” said Gamez. “It shows me a lot -- that we can do anything, too.”