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AFNORTH CC Hosts Mexican Air Force LNOs

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ed Staton
  • AFNORTH Public Affairs
Exercise scenarios detailing devastation in Southern California and Mexico during Ardent Sentry 15 included American and Mexican military personnel working together to help mitigate the disastrous impact on their respective homelands from a massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Imperial County California on May 11, 2015. 

Through an already established relationship between 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) and the Mexican Air Force gained through Mexico's participation in previous 1AF (AFNORTH) exercises, the U.S and Mexican Air Forces have formed strong partnerships.  However, a higher level of coordination was gained during Ardent Sentry 15 when five Mexican military liaison officers participated in the exercise with AFNORTH personnel at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

"This is the first time we participated in an exercise like this." said Mexican Air Force LNO, Lt Col Ruben Cortes Hernandez.  "We are very satisfied with all of the attention received from General Etter and his staff."

The Mexican LNOs attended exercise briefings and provided input to AFNORTH personnel regarding the activity and availability of Mexican Air Force assets and personnel.  They also provided information on emergency response needs in earthquake impacted areas of Mexico.  Their onsite presence served as a valuable resource to the AFNORTH command elements when quick emergency response decisions had to be made during the exercise's developing scenario.

"The exercise enriched us both professionally and culturally as we learned how AFNORTH responds to situations like this," Cortez said.  "This enabled us to learn their plans and procedures and how they are used to save lives, especially in the border region between US and Mexico."

The benefits of the Mexican LNOs on-site participation was warmly received by the exercise's host.

"This has been an unprecedented degree of cooperation between us and our counterparts and I couldn't be happier about it," said AFNORTH Commander, Lt. Gen. William Etter.  "I look forward to even deeper ties in the future with the goal of enhancing our interoperability and ability to conduct bi-national operations."

The seamless communications extended far beyond the face-to-face communications that took place between U.S. and Mexican Air Force personnel during Ardent Sentry.  From AFNORTH headquarters, Hernandez was able to brief United States Northern Command Commander Adm. Bill Gortney directly during an exercise video teleconference.   This same VTC technology was also used for allowing Etter to video conference directly with his Mexican Air Force counterpart.  This first-time event enhanced communications during a critical point of Ardent Sentry.

"It is the culmination of a long standing effort to deepen ties between our two great nations," Etter said.  "Those efforts will undoubtedly continue and hopefully bear more fruit."

With upcoming exercises scheduled along with the possible development of a real world situation creating the need for U.S. and Mexican military bi-national planning and execution, the Ardent Sentry face-to-face interactions will prove to be beneficial.

"It is definitely very important because Mexico and the United States border each other," said Cortez.  "In these situations there are interactions between citizens when they are affected and there should be planning and execution to allow for continuous support of civil authorities in disaster situations."