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U.S. Air Force, Ghanaian Armed Forces strengthen ties through education and training

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

A member of the Ghana Air Force conducts a critical thinking assessment during an Inter-European Air Forces Academy professional military education course, July 27, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. Professional military education is not a one-time course, but rather part of a progressive professional development program that deliberately builds combat capable and relevant leaders. (Courtesy photo)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

U.S. Air Force Maj. Melissa Guldan and Master Sgt. David Sanner, Inter-European Air Forces Academy instructors, led training for members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces during a professional military education course, July 26, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. IEAFA’s mission is to strengthen allied and partner nation cooperation through education and training of the only common weapon system - people. (Courtesy photo)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Carte, Inter-European Air Forces Academy dean of academics, gives instructions to members of the Ghanian Armed Forces during a professional military education course, July 27, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The course, which took place July 19-30, focused on team building, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. The instructors utilized a variety of techniques to improve the participants’ decision-making, flexibility and execution as leaders. (Courtesy photo)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, provides opening remarks during a graduation ceremony, July 30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The ceremony marked the milestone for 20 members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces who were the first graduates of the Inter-European Air Forces Academy’s professional military education course on the African continent. The course focused on team building, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. The instructors utilized a variety of techniques to improve the participants’ decision-making, flexibility and execution as leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. R. Michael Longoria)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

Members of the Ghana Air Force listen to remarks from U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, during a professional military education course graduation ceremony, July 30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The Inter-European Air Forces Academy was founded in 2015 and has historically engaged with only European allies and partners; however, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act expanded the academy’s authority to educate and train America’s partners in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. R. Michael Longoria)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

A member of the Ghana Air Force records U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, during a graduation ceremony, July 30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The ceremony was a celebratory milestone for the Inter-European Air Forces Academy’s first-ever engagement on the African continent. The Ghanaian graduates join an alumni group of more than 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. R. Michael Longoria)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

Ghana Air Force Sgt. Emmanual Afriyie looks at his graduation certificate following a ceremony, July 30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The ceremony was a celebratory milestone for the Inter-European Air Forces Academy’s first-ever engagement on the African continent. The Ghanaian graduates join an alumni group of more than 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. R. Michael Longoria)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, talks with Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson, Ghana Air Force chief of air staff, prior to a graduation ceremony, July 30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The ceremony was a celebratory milestone for the Inter-European Air Forces Academy’s first-ever engagement on the African continent. An IEAFA mobile training team led a two-week, professional military education course for 20 members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. R. Michael Longoria)

Ghanaian Armed Forces graduates 20 members from Professional Military Education

Inter-European Air Forces Academy leadership and instructors take a group picture with 20 members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces during a professional military education course, July 27, 2021, in Accra, Ghana. The Ghanaian graduates join an alumni group of more than 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. (Courtesy photo)

ACCRA, Ghana --

Twenty members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces completed a two-week, professional military education course hosted by the Inter-European Air Forces Academy July 19-30, 2021, in Accra, Ghana.

IEAFA’s mission is to strengthen allied and partner nation cooperation through education and training of our only common weapon system - people.

“We develop lifelong ties among our allies and partners,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robin Cadow, IEAFA commandant. “Ultimately, these relationships, founded in trust, have operational impact.”

IEAFA was founded in 2015 and has historically engaged with only European allies and partners; however, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act expanded the academy’s authority to educate and train America’s partners in Africa. This was announced during the African Air Chiefs Symposium in March 2021.

Out of 38 air chiefs in attendance, Air Vice Marshall Frank Hanson, Ghana Air Force chief of air staff, was the first to jump at the opportunity. In four-short months, Hanson’s vision became reality when IEAFA sent a mobile training team to Ghana to deliver a condensed version of their curriculum taught in Germany.

“[Hanson] fought for you to be the first on the African continent to receive this training,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander. “He boldly stood to ensure Ghana would continue to be a leader in the region, in the world, and in the future.”

The course focused on team building, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. The instructors utilized a variety of techniques to improve the participants’ decision-making, flexibility and execution as leaders.

“Our PME course develops students into leaders by helping them identify their strengths and areas of improvements,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Theresa Askew, IEAFA superintendent. “We focus on personal and professional growth by creating learning environments where our students are forced to expand their comfort zones. We provide them tools to be courageous leaders, effective communicators, problem solvers, team players, and to possess the self-awareness and humility to understand that followership is sometimes the most appropriate method to apply for the given situation or task at hand.”

While this was the academy’s first-ever engagement on the African continent, it won’t be the last according to Hanson. “Be assured, this training will continue in Ghana,” he said.

Askew explained that PME is not a one-time course, but rather part of a progressive professional development program that deliberately builds combat capable and relevant leaders.

Hanson added that he is grateful for the professional development his airmen, but more importantly the resulting relationships because “today’s fight, and tomorrow’s fight” require partnerships.

“Over the past two weeks, we’ve built valuable and meaningful connections with one another that will strengthen our partnership as we continue to face future challenges together,” Cadow said. “We look forward to continue to building lifelong ties with all of our African partners.”

The Ghanaian graduates join an alumni group of more than 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

“In the eyes of these 20 amazing people, I see the future and the future is great,” Reed said. “This is exciting because the world needs engaged leaders with a thirst for development, and through education and training we will be stronger together.”