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Mission SA: Air Force program builds international relations

A longstanding program at Lackland Air Force Base has a global reach with military and police personnel. It's continued to strengthen international relations.

SAN ANTONIO — A long-standing program at Lackland Air Force Base has a global reach with military and police personnel. For nearly 80 years, the program has continued to strengthen international relations.

The Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) provides military education with a focus on aircraft training, security, cyber intelligence and leadership. IAAFA commandant, Colonel Isaac Davidson, shared the mission of the program and how it lays the groundwork for the future.

“Our vision here at IAAFA is simple. To be the partner of choice, through enduring strong friendships and security cooperation. That is who we are,” he said.

Davidson shared an example of how incidents with military or police personnel along the U.S.-Mexico border would require IAAFA's assistance. "When something happens there, we're dealing with police and security forces. They actually come through here at IAAFA," he said.

Military and police personnel from 39 western hemisphere nations participate in the program. The participants undergo several weeks of training with IAAFA instructors and take back what they learned to their respective countries. Foreign instructor and Air Force of El Salvador Captain Ronald Castillo said the program opens the door for students to immerse themselves in new communities. 

“We have a good opportunity to meet them, know a little about their culture, their nation also. And we try to make solid foundation relationship with them,” he said.

“It was the best experience in my whole life,” said recent graduate Captain Luis Bonilla of the Colombia Air Force. “Having the opportunity to train your leadership, with people from other countries, other cultures, being with other languages, it's hard, but when you achieve that goal, you grow a lot.”

The most recent graduation of IAFFA was held August 7.


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