MANADO, Indonesia -- More than 5,000 Indonesian citizens flooded the Sam Ratulangi International Airport flightline during the Cope West 19 open house and interacted with U.S. and Indonesian service members in Manado, Indonesia, June 22.
The event, organized by the U.S. Pacific Air Forces and Indonesian armed forces, provided an opportunity for the local communities around Manado to engage with their nation’s military and a key partnering nation.
A U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon assigned to the 14th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, based out of Misawa Air Base, Japan, showcased combat air power alongside the Indonesian air force’s F-16C and an H-225M Cougar helicopter.
During the event, Indo-Pacific Command Team of U.S. Embassy-Jakarta members set up a small kiosk showcasing U.S.-Indonesian 70th anniversary bilateral relations items and educational handouts for children.
“This event provided a venue to display the collaboration and partnership Indonesia and the United States have enjoyed for 70 years,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Onix Cordero, the C Company 97th Civil Affairs Battalion team sergeant, based out of the U.S. Embassy-Jakarta. “Community relations events such as this provide the local populace an up-close and personal experience of the professionalism and collaboration their nation’s military conducts alongside their U.S. counterparts.”
The team handed out educational books, back packs, writing supply materials, in commemoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Government of Indonesia.
Cordero added that the intent of promoting the 70th anniversary is about looking forward to what the two nations can accomplish together as two diverse democracies and creating a prosperous future for both nations.
To commemorate the year-long celebration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Indonesia, the Pacific Air Forces’ F-16 Demonstration Team captured the audience’s attention with a pristine ground performance and jaw-dropping display of the F-16’s multi-role capabilities.
“I’ve never seen the F-16 do those types of maneuvers in person,” exclaimed a Cope West open house attendee. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off their performance.”
While the team’s primary mission is to showcase the F-16’s capabilities across the Pacific region, the local community relations built during air shows are paramount.
“It was such an honor to perform during the Cope West 19 open house,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jake Impellizzeri, the PACAF F-16 Demonstration Team commander. “This was the first time the Demo Team has performed a show in Indonesia, and we hope it won’t be the last. The local community has showed us such kindness and enthusiasm.”
Impellizzeri and Cordero agreed this event was successful in displaying the two nation’s partnership and demonstrated how these friendships come from a foundation of shared democratic values and common interests.