ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
Senior military engineers from six Indo-Pacific nations gathered in Guam for a Key leader Engagement (KLE) the week of June 21, 2022, to focus on multi-lateral efforts accelerating interoperability among their respective engineers.
This meeting built on the success of recent bilateral engagements in the region including a US-Japan ratified agreement focused on combined airfield damage repair capabilities.
“Each of the nations presented an overview of specific engineering capabilities such as operating and recovering air bases, humanitarian assistance, construction capabilities, and identified opportunities for future subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE),” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Novy, Chief of Civil Engineer Readiness Branch, Pacific Air Forces.
In the past, several nations in this gathering conducted SMEEs through Engineering Civic Action Program
construction projects, hosting bilateral training on aircraft rescue and firefighting, and building partner capacity exercises with Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
“Those programs resulted in tangible results for partner and allied nations over the past three years,” said Novy. “Thailand and the Philippines are benefiting greatly from this program, in addition to the disposal of legacy unexploded ordnance remaining from World War II and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, and combined firefighting operations in the Marianas Islands.”
Themes during this KLE included topics of shared interest across the allies and partners such as joint capabilities, leveraging expertise in the Total Force, and increased frequency of SMEE engagements and multi-lateral training.
The KLE culminated in an Allies and Partners Silver Flag training program at Andersen Air Force Base’s Northwest Field, bringing together more than 100 engineers from nations across the region for hands-on training with the latest expeditionary base resilience concepts, June 27 through July 1.
“The Partner Nation and Allies Silver Flag is designed to build relationships with countries within the Pacific area of responsibility,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Gibson, emergency management contingency training non-commissioned officer in charge assigned to 554th RED HORSE Squadron. “This course is built to demonstrate interoperability capabilities for near peer adversaries.”
At the start of the weeklong event, students divided into groups based on their specialties, which included command and control, electrical, power production, heavy repair and emergency management.
“On the final day of the event, the trainees will display what they learned throughout the week by conducting one final exercise,” said Gibson. “Everyone is excited to show what they learned throughout the week.
Concluding the event with a cleanup and graduation, the students left Andersen AFB with an added knowledge about the civil engineering career field. In addition, the training allowed Airmen from countries who normally don’t interact often with these topics, to build friendships and gain a better understanding on each other’s customs and courtesies.
“Silver Flag really embodies what we are doing here which is strengthening partnerships from the Forward Edge of the Indo-Pacific,” said Gibson. “We would like to thank the nations that participated in this event and are grateful the experiences we have had.”