MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AFNS) —
The 12th AF serves as the Air Force component to the U.S. Southern Command and conducts security cooperation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The West Virginia ANG has a long-standing partnership with Peruvian forces through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
Peruvian Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Carlos Chavez emphasized the significance of the West Virginia partnership during the [signing] ceremony, stating, “It’s been a real pleasure for the Peruvian Air Force to be here this week working together, in order to succeed, in order to grow and improve our capabilities together.”
An estimated 40 representatives from the three named entities planned nearly 60 future engagements of cooperation to include air operations and maintenance, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, noncommissioned officer development, women in peacekeeping and security initiatives, and space and communications operations.
Dave Delmonaco, representing the 12th AF (Air Forces Southern), noted that the youngest of Airmen can influence activities and engagements of the State Partnership Program.
“The beauty is that anyone in this audience could have that next idea that’s going to bring us together for an engagement that’s going to work at the strategic level and is going to elevate what we do that affects both Peru and the United States Air Force,” Delmonaco stated during the ceremony.
In addition to participating in staff discussions, members of the Peruvian Air Force were given orientation flights on a West Virginia National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk and a C-17 Globemaster III. The trip culminated in meetings with officials at the Pentagon.
West Virginia National Guard Assistant Adjutant General and West Virginia ANG Commander Brig. Gen. David Cochran, said the state is proud to have Peru as a longstanding partner and praised the growth of the relationship between the West Virginia National Guard and Peru.
“It’s not just a state partnership. It’s multi-agency. It’s a whole-of-government partnership that we help facilitate with our West Virginia National Guard resources and our military cooperation with Peru,” Cochran said.
The West Virginia National Guard and Peru have been partnered through the State Partnership Program since 1996. In the fiscal year 2022 alone, the WVNG and Peru have completed 31 engagements together. Most recently, the WVNG participated in the Peru-hosted international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise Cooperacion IX.