PRETORIA, South Africa—Sixty New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and five aircraft will take part in Africa’s biggest airshow from Sept. 21 to 25 at Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, South Africa.
Two C-17 Globemaster III transports, an HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue, and an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft from the will be exhibited during the African Aerospace and Defense Show.
The African Aerospace and Defense Expo is a combination trade show and air show held every two years at South Africa's Air Force Base Waterkloof outside Pretoria. The first three days of the five-day event are a trade show open to defense and aerospace officials, while the last two days are an air show open to the public.
The New York National Guard, which has a State Partnership Program relationship with the South African National Defense Force, has participated in the air show since 2004.
The New York National Guard has been a consistent presence in the country since 2003, as the first state partnership on the continent," said Maj. Gen. Raymond Shields, the adjutant general of New York, who is part of the delegation.
Brig. Gen. Gary Charlton, the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, said his team of 15 Airmen is excited to be participating in the airshow.
"The trip here to South Africa was a long fight and a lot of work, but the crew has been phenomenal, “ Charlton said.
Along with the HH-60 and HC-130J, 33 Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base on Long Island, brought an inflatable combat raiding boat and a ground tactical vehicle to display.
Thirteen personnel from the 174th Attack Wing, located at Hancock Field Air National Guard base in Syracuse, New York, supplied the General Atomics MQ-9 which will be on show.
The aircraft will leave on September 25th to go back to New York.
The South African Airshow has occurred every year since 2000 except in 2020 because of the pandemic.
There have been as many as 110 counties represented at the airshow with over 280 aircraft on display and up to 55,000 visitors.
Shields also briefed the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety about the New York- South Africa State Partnership Program relationship.
The New York National Guard’s commitment to the partnership program continues to strengthen the relationship between the United States and South Africa, Brigety said.
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