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First U.S. and Philippine Airman-to-Airman Talks comes to a close
Republic of the Philippines and United States flags sit side-by-side at the head table of the first United States and Philippine Airman-to-Airman Talks here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War, the Republic of the Philippines peaceably won its independence from the U.S. on Jul. 4, 1946, a day presently observed as “RP-U.S. Friendship Day.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Bright/Released)
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First U.S. and Philippine Airman-to-Airman Talks comes to a close

Posted 11/19/2012   Updated 11/19/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Bright
PACAF Public Affairs


11/19/2012 - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii  -- The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines interoperability as: the "ability of a system... to work with or use the parts ...of another system." While a dry, and albeit vague, definition of something we take for granted in the pacific region, the ability of multi-national militaries to work, train and fight alongside each other is all too important in today's chaotic world.

The inaugural United States to Philippine Airman-to-Airman Talks, held from Nov. 6-8, was designed to not only foster military-to-military relationships with allied forces, but also to renew a long-standing friendship the nations have known for more than 63 years. Among the goals of the three-day conference were determining joint activities - whether through military training or humanitarian outreach - for 2014, as well as how to adapt and incorporate the training each nation provides her airmen in the Pacific theater to better each nation's military.

In recent years, the Philippine Air Force hosted U.S. Pacific Command and PACAF exercises like Pacific Angel 2010 and 2012, supported the Pacific Air Chief Conference, the Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium, and the Pacific Airlift Rally.

The Philippine visitors, lead by Maj. Gen. Raul Dimatatac, vice commander, Philippine Air Force, met with Lt. Gen. Ted Kresge, vice commander, Pacific Air Forces, to discuss ways in which the Philippine Air Force and the U.S. Air Force could not only learn to work together in joint training exercises, but to open themselves up to new cultures and to foster friendships across the Pacific.

Dimatatac emphasized the importance of meetings like the Airman-to-Airman Talks because they open the door to better understanding between the cultures of the Philippines and the United States. Both the Philippines and the U.S. are working to restructure their Air Forces; these talks offer the opportunity to speak openly, face-to-face, in ways where telephone calls and e-mails simply do not lend to ease of conversation.

"To meet here, we can find commonality - common goals, strengths and weaknesses - that will help both our nations grow together in friendship and cooperation," said Dimatatac.

The friendships fostered during this meeting will help the Philippines and the U.S. to speed coordination of military-to-military training and cultural events for years to come.

Following the signing of a referendum of understanding between the two nations on the meeting and future plans for joint training and humanitarian work, Kresge emphasized that these discussions are long overdue, but very fruitful."

In the near future, when we come together, be it the Pacific Air Forces, Marine Forces Pacific or the Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs office, the work we did this week will help minimize any cultural confusions you sometimes see in joint endeavors," said Kresge. "Now, we know each other and if there are questions, we have the ability, through our newly-found friendships, to simply pick up the phone, call one another and sort out any misunderstandings."

The next meeting, between the U.S. and the Philippines, has not yet been scheduled, but the most critical step is to implement the plans created here at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. For now, the PAF and PACAF have lists of items each needs to work on in order to make friendships easier to maintain, as well as to ensuring training and humanitarian missions are quicker to facilitate and easier to execute.



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