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US Air Forces Africa builds partnerships through APF Kenya

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa deputy commanding general, exchanges gifts with Kenya Air Force Brigadier John Omenda, base commander at Laikipia Air Base, during the closing ceremony for African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Nanyuki, Kenya, August 25, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa deputy commanding general, exchanges gifts with Kenya Air Force Brigadier John Omenda, base commander at Laikipia Air Base, during the closing ceremony for African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Nanyuki, Kenya, August 25, 2019. The five-day event culminated with a Kenya Air Force-led exercise, Linda Rhino 2, using personnel recovery skills gained during the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

A Kenya air force UH-1 Huey takes off after rescuing a simulated isolated pilot during the final demonstration of African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019. Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 24, 2019.

A Kenya air force UH-1 Huey takes off after rescuing a simulated isolated pilot during the final demonstration of African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019. Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 24, 2019. This year's APF Kenya was co-hosted by the U.S. and Kenya and shared best practices regarding personnel recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa deputy commanding general, gives closing remarks for African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Nanyuki, Kenya, August 25, 2019.

Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa deputy commanding general, gives closing remarks for African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Nanyuki, Kenya, August 25, 2019. The five-day event culminated with a Kenya Air Force-led exercise, Linda Rhino 2, using personnel recovery skills gained during the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force special tactics Airman with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron observes the final demonstration of the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 program at Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 25, 2019.

U.S. Air Force special tactics Airman with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron observes the final demonstration of the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 program at Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 25, 2019. The culmination event, Linda Rhino 2, incorporated multiple skills covered during the week-long program including combat search and rescue, aeromedical evacuation and personnel recovery command and control. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Anibal Aguirre, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa personnel recovery coordination cell director, observes the final demonstration of African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 24, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Anibal Aguirre, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa personnel recovery coordination cell director, observes the final demonstration of African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Larisoro Air Strip, Kenya, August 24, 2019. This year's APF Kenya brought together five nations to exchange best practices on personnel recovery tactics, techniques and procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Anibal Aguirre, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa personnel recovery coordination cell director, offers feedback after a practical personnel recovery demonstration at the African Partnership Kenya 2019 program held at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Anibal Aguirre, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa personnel recovery coordination cell director, offers feedback after a practical personnel recovery demonstration at the African Partnership Kenya 2019 program held at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya. Personnel recovery offers militaries a critical capability during humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Todd, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, and Tanzania Air Force Command Col. Ian Haule, an aircraft maintenance engineer, discuss radio communication techniques at the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Todd, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, and Tanzania Air Force Command Col. Ian Haule, an aircraft maintenance engineer, discuss radio communication techniques at the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019. Five militaries came together for this APF to discuss best practices and share knowledge regarding personnel recovery operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Schmitz, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, demonstrates various patient lifting techniques during African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 23, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Schmitz, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, demonstrates various patient lifting techniques during African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 23, 2019. The four-day course covered various aspects of personnel recovery including tactical combat casualty care, combat search and rescue and medical evacuation procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Michael Kennedy, 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer, shares best practices on casualty collection points during the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 event at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Michael Kennedy, 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer, shares best practices on casualty collection points during the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 event at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019. Personnel recovery involves multiple components including combat search and rescue, tactical combat casualty care, medical evacuation, and specific command and control functions to ensure functionality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Todd, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, demonstrates signaling techniques during African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019.
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Todd, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor, demonstrates signaling techniques during African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 22, 2019. The APF program is a military-to-military familiarization program amongst African nations to increase interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniela Rizzari, 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard medical technician, reviews checking airways with Kenya air force nurse Senior Sgt. Sospeter Mwashigadi, during a tactical combat casualty care demonstration at the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 event, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 21, 2019.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniela Rizzari, 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard medical technician, reviews checking airways with Kenya air force nurse Senior Sgt. Sospeter Mwashigadi, during a tactical combat casualty care demonstration at the African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 event, Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, August 21, 2019. The TCCC demonstrated all three phases of care to include care under fire, tactical field care and tactical evacuation care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Renae Pittman)

LAIKIPIA AIR BASE, Kenya --

Approximately 120 air force delegates from the U.S., Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda came together for a week of knowledge sharing on personnel recovery topics for this iteration of African Partnership Flight Kenya 2019 held at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya, Aug. 20 - 24.

“The African Partnership Flight is U.S. Air Forces Africa’s premier security cooperation program with African partner nations intended to foster military collaboration and strong long-lasting relationships with and between African partner nations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Erik Anker, U.S. Air Forces Africa lead planner.

This five-day event covered critical skillets for successful personnel recovery operations.

“We covered a host of topics related to personnel recovery including personnel recovery command and control, combat search and rescue, tactical combat casualty care and survival and evasion,” said Anker.
This APF was co-hosted with the Kenya Air Force with instructors coming from both militaries who are subject matter experts in their given field.

“This partnership has brought a wealth of skills within the KAF to enhance the security, coordination and integration within the East African air forces,” said Brigadier John Omenda, Laikipia Air Base commander.

The U.S. instructors came from multiple commands throughout the U.S. Air Force to help facilitate knowledge sharing and best practices exchanges among Eastern African militaries.

“I hope the East African nations will be able to take the information they’ve learned here and not only make their own personnel recovery programs better, but build a program where we can count on one another and ensure all of our isolated personnel come back to their families and countries,” said Tech. Sgt. Jared Todd, 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape air advisor.

Participants completed four days of instruction with classrooms, demonstrations and field exercises designed to increase capabilities and standardize processes and procedures.

“This information is very important to me as a helicopter pilot. I now have a better understanding of how to recover isolated persons. I am glad that I can take this information back to my unit and teach my fellow pilots,” said Maj. Naomi Karungin, a helicopter pilot with the Uganda Peoples Defense Air Force.

In addition to U.S. Air Forces Africa working to build stronger partnerships in Africa, the Massachusetts Air National Guard had representatives help guide discussions as part of the State Partnership Program, which began in 2016 with an APF event.

“Programs like this are important because under field conditions you have limited availability and we want to maximize the survivability of our partners by giving them tools needed to maximize their survivability,” said Col. Melinda Sutton, 102nd Medical Group Commander, Massachusetts Air National Guard.

The event culminated in an exercise led by the Kenya Air Force named “Linda Rhino 2,” putting together all of the skills practiced during the week. The exercise was observed by several air chiefs from across Africa.

“What I saw today in the exercise, was brilliant...it's all about readiness. We, together, get paid to be responsive, resilient and as lethal as required against terrorist organizations and near peer competitors,” said Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa deputy commanding general, during the APF Kenya closing ceremony.

The final thought for the conference was regarding teamwork.

“We cannot do this alone, we need each other, we need teams. You need experienced people to learn from, especially from people who have done it in real-life situations,” said Omenda.