LAPU-LAPU, CEBU, Philippines — The Hawaii Army National Guard conducted its first rotary wing aviation maintenance and standardization subject matter expert exchange in the lively coastal city of Lapu-Lapu Sept. 25-29.
A contingent from Company C, 1st Battalion, 183rd Aviation Regiment, alongside personnel from Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2, engaged in the event with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing (THW) at Brigadier General Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Mactan.
“This is a great opportunity for us to learn from the experts and gain valuable knowledge,” Col. Moises Micor, 205th THW deputy wing commander, said during the opening ceremony.
The event established a robust framework for bilateral relations, fostering cooperation, collaboration and interoperability rooted in the shared use of rotary wing platforms.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of this inaugural subject matter expert rotary event between the PAF and the HIARNG,” said Col. Byron Cadiz, HIARNG aviation and safety director. “This year marks the 30th anniversary of the State Partnership Program. This year also celebrates its 23rd year of the state partnership between the Hawaii National Guard and the Philippines, one of the longest relationships in the United States Indo-Pacific Command.”
PAF counterparts were acquainted with the intricacies of the UH-60M platform, encouraging a comparative analysis with their existing standard operating procedures, technical training, and operational protocols for their Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopter.
“The subjects covered by the HIARNG team spanned from sling load operations, mission planning, phase maintenance inspections, and corrosion control,” said Maj. Ryan Hong, aviation operations and training officer. “A great deal of time was dedicated to crafting a syllabus delving into salient touchpoints that mattered the most to the 205th THW, setting our sights on empowering the PAF with the means to achieve maximum utilization of the S-70i airframe.”
The classroom environment was the backdrop for comprehensive training and roundtable discussions about aviation maintenance and standardization.
“Our aviation team collaborated with the 205th THW, offering support, sharing ideas through training sessions and open discussions for domestic and combat operations,” said Capt. John Worthington, 183rd Aviation Regiment commander. “The aim was to teach and learn while forging a lasting partnership for mutual operational preparedness and readiness.”
Micor said the four-day event opened up opportunities for pilots and maintenance crews and allowed greater interaction and exchanges between forces.
“I hope the connections and the relationships forged during this subject matter exchange will continue to grow and strengthen in the future,” Micor said.
The Philippines is the oldest treaty ally of the United States in the Indo-Pacific Command, with the Hawaii National Guard playing a vital role as a partner.