SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, –
For the first time in 19 years, Inter-American Air Forces Academy instructors provided Air Force professional military education on Central American soil.
The IAAFA staff set up shop here and began instructing the Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy PME curriculum to 24 NCOs from 10 Latin American nations' air forces.
Airmen from Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay attended the academy.
Joint Task Force-Bravo is hosting IAAFA by providing the infrastructure needed to provide support for the staff and students.
The two instructors and one administrator from Lackland provided the students with professional military education curriculum mirroring the Air Force NCO Academy and Squadron Officer School courses.
According to Tech. Sgt. Juan Marquez, IAAFA administrative support, the IAAFA classroom and curriculum is no different than any classroom at any Air Force NCOA elsewhere other than the curriculum is in Spanish.
"They are facing the same tasks we face when we (U.S. Air Force NCOs) attend the academy-- profession of arms, communication skills, and leadership--it's all pretty much the same instruction," he said.
IAAFA instructor Master Sgt. Sam Nunez said although the curriculum is the same, the students personal examples of challenges they experience on the job are quite different from what their U.S. counterparts experience.
"I'm noticing that a lot of the issues they find helpful is curriculum which helps students deal with stress, improve time management and sharpen their professional communication skills," Sergeant Nunez explained.
Sergeant Nunez said he believes the IAAFA curriculum will expand the leadership ability of academy graduates and strengthen their commitment to the profession of arms by integrating sound leadership, communication skills, and military studies principles and concepts throughout the region.
The class graduated in a ceremony here July 29. Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, spoke at the graduation ceremony and congratulated the students on their hard work.
"I cherish the professional relationship our air forces share and especially value our personal friendship," Gen. Seip said. "It has long been said, and I firmly believe, that the (NCO) is the backbone of a successful military. This adage is especially true in today's age of limited resources. Quite simply, the NCO corps is the foundation upon which military capabilities rest."
The experiences they have acquired through their years of military service and the training each received here will prepare them well for the challenges ahead, he said.
(Staff Sgt. Joel Mease contributed to this story)