by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
6/9/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S.
Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa hosted 14 allied and partner
nations, June 2-4, for the inaugural International Professional
Military Development symposium at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
The PMD course is designed to provide a platform for European and
African nations to share best practices, concepts about recruiting as
well as training and developing a professional officer and enlisted
Senior Master Sgt. Travis Robbins, USAFE-AFAFRICA international affairs
enlisted engagement manager, facilitated the discussions for the forum.
"The U.S. presence has drastically reduced its forces and assets around
the world, especially in Europe." Robbins explained. "The future
guarantees that we will need the support of our allies when working in
future conflicts together and in order to work together, you must first
understand each other, and this symposium is a great start to
understanding each other."
The inaugural event hosted a diverse spread of air forces including the
Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zambia.
The course offered a variety of topics over the three days including an
overview of building an enlisted force, recruiting, enlisted and officer
education, and promotions. The symposium also allowed the group to tour
units that are unique to the Ramstein area. On the second day they
toured the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, Kissling NCO academy
and the 435th Contingency Response Group.
The NCOA was an important part of the symposium due to the focus on
development of airmen. General Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander,
hit on that topic during his remarks to the group.
"Developing Airmen is not just making a checklist," Gorenc explained.
"This is the development of our people so they can tackle the known
challenges, but it is also to educate them enough to be able to handle
challenges that aren't covered by a checklist. They need these complex
skills to critically think about these things."
Gorenc explained that those challenges have been ever present on the
European and African continents over the past year, citing the Russian
intervention in Crimea, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Ebola.
"We don't know what the next challenge is," Gorenc admitted, "but
whatever solution is aspired to by the coalition of the willing,
airpower will play a big part in it."
Gorenc said that the U.S. Air Force is often accused of chasing the
latest and greatest technology and admits that while that may be true;
the most important thing we can focus on is the development of our
"No matter how big our air forces are, whether it's 350 or 300,000, we
all share one common denominator: people," Robbins said. "With 29
international partners from 14 different countries it's amazing how much
you learn about cultural diversity. Part of USAFE-AFAFRICA's 'Forward,
Ready, Now!' mission is to build partnerships and it is events like
these that keep that mission alive."