RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa hosted the first-ever Partnership Flight Symposium, combining both African and European military aeromedical teams at Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 16-19.
More than 50 representatives from 12 countries, including Albania, Angola, Bulgaria, Croatia, Gabon, Hungary, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine and Zambia. It was the first time USAFE-AFAFRICA hosted an event dedicated to medical cooperation that brought both African and European countries together in the same venue.
“The way forward must be based on these two premises: a clear, shared, strategic vision and multilateral cooperation,” said Col. Craig Rice, USAFE-AFAFRICA Medical Modernization Division chief, during opening remarks for the symposium. “We are more alike than we are different, so I am confident, that together, we can continue to build partnership capacity.”
“This is a huge step and we are extremely optimistic and excited to host this event,” Rice said.
The program was intended to not only develop on U.S., African and European relationships but to promote communication and enduring medical partnerships. The week started with briefings from the participants which outlined each nations’ capabilities as well as key units within the aeromedical planning the U.S. uses.
The participants toured the local aeromedical evacuation squadron facility, en-route patient staging facility and multiple aircraft to understand how each airframe was configured to provide the best care for patients being evacuated.
“The values and traditions we hold – both medical and military – are strong,” Rice said. “I have no doubt that together, we will find the best solutions to advance aeromedical evacuation support to peacekeeping operations around the globe.”
The relationships will help to build medical support capacity throughout the area which will enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability to support future humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.
“No military in the world has enough people, money, supplies,” said Col. Ricardo Trimillos, USAFE-AFAFRICA International Affairs Division chief. “That right there is the recipe for innovation. Smart ideas on how to use what you have at hand to do good things. In the medical community you are bringing relief from suffering, tyranny, and all that is bad in the world and making us and showing us the best of humanity. Your innovation is what I hope that we can learn from.”