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By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Alvarez
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
The Vermont Army National Guard hosted two Senegalese Air Force pilots and a flight engineer to conduct safety, operations, and maintenance cross-training with the VTARNG’s Aviators during a State Partnership Program visit, July 17-22.
“They fly a plethora of different helicopters within their fleet. Ranging not only in type and capability but deriving from many countries. They operate and sustain aircraft from Italy, France, Russia, and the United States to name a few.” Explained Capt. Jared Read, a Blackhawk pilot with the Vermont Army National Guard. “As you can imagine this can cause logistical hardships, especially for a young Air Force operation.”
The purpose of the visit was to share tactics, techniques, and procedures regarding safety, operations, and maintenance programs used by both countries.
For Senegal Air Force CNE (Capt.) Kana Ndiaye, an instructor pilot, the most important takeaway was the culture of safety practiced by the U.S. in all their flight operations. “It’s organic in all their aviation operations.” He went on to praise his Vermont hosts, “I also want to bring back the kindness and enthusiasm we received here, we were really made to feel like we were a part of everything.”
Capt. Read described how “We packed each day with briefings, tours, and demonstrations. The Senegal Air Force members were extremely motivated to learn everything we had to offer and asked great questions along the way. I believe both parties will continue to benefit greatly from continuing this relationship into the future. It was an honor and a privilege for all of us here at the flight facility to host CNE Ndiaye, Lt. Thioune, and Sgt. Abdourahmane.”
The Senegalese Air Force was formed in 1961 as a branch of the Senegalese Armed Forces. Their mission is to defend Senegalese airspace and support other Senegalese forces performing medevac and marine patrol missions.
The relationship between the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Senegal began in 2008. Many medical readiness, engineering, and aviation exercises have taken place since then, benefitting both partners.
The Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau and pairs U.S. state National Guard units with other nations to facilitate international civil-military relationships.