Airmen enhance relationships, airfield ops in Cambodia
By Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz , Pacific Angel 11-1 Public Affairs
/ Published August 11, 2011
SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AFNS) -- The ability to deploy anywhere in the world within 12 hours to build an air base and sustain airfield operations is a capability few countries have the capacity to accomplish.
Airmen deployed here in support of Pacific Angel Cambodia 11-1 are exchanging ideas and sharing best practices on this capability, and are strengthening partnerships through dialogue on aircrew, loadmaster, airfield-management and aerial-port operations with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and local airport staff.
"We're here to show them our capabilities and give them the tools to further themselves ... we're also learning how they do business," said Master Sgt. James Bonk, a contingency response team lead assigned to the 36th Mobility Response Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. "By being able to integrate our abilities with theirs we're able to help each other out when needed."
Being able to integrate with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces enhances the U.S. military's ability to perform operations in an area of responsibility covering more than 100 million square miles and 50 percent of the world's population.
"It's crucial to have an airfield and to be able to sustain operations in order to get items to people like medical supplies and food when they need it," said Sergeant Bonk. "We're partners and we're aiming to improve interoperability."
An aerial demonstration by a North Carolina National Guard C-130H from the 145th Airlift Wing, followed by a walk through of the aircraft, provided the RCAF an opportunity to examine how the aircraft works along with receiving cargo, airdrops, managing the airfield and setting up an aerial port.
"We've learned a lot from our friends," said Col. Proeung Phath, with the Royal Cambodian Air Force. "We can benefit from these exchanges and experiences. It's great to work next to them and I'm happy they're here."
Exchanges that foster partnerships and relationships will enhance future operations for Cambodians and the U.S., participants said.
"I'm happy to be here establishing friendships and learning more about the way they do business," said Sergeant Bonk. "Everyone is very friendly and has been very welcoming, I'm glad to be able to share with them now and in the future."
Operation Pacific Angel Cambodia 11-1, is a combined partnership between U.S. and Cambodian military and civilian personnel providing medical, dental, optometry and engineer programs to local Cambodians including airfield operations subject-matter expert exchanges.
The operation is scheduled to conclude Aug. 12.