by Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
8/20/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Five
members from the Honduran air force teamed up with 12th Air Force (Air
Forces Southern) and the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron for a
subject matter expert exchange from Aug. 16-22, 2015.
The exchange focused primarily on a variety of nondestructive inspections lab processes.
"The NDI lab helps to ensure the structural integrity of the aircraft is
maintained by unobtrusively looking for issues within the aircraft,"
said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Leandrea Walker, 355th EMS NDI lab
"By identifying microscopic defects in the aircraft we can prevent
catastrophic events, like aircraft crashes, from occurring," added U.S.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Diana Dunn, 355th EMS NDI lab assistant
According to the U.S. Air Force Nondestructive Inspection Office, NDI
labs use a range of different processes to find flaws within air and
space equipment without causing damage to the equipment itself. Some of
the processes that the 355th EMS NDI team covered were the use of eddy
currents, magnetic particles, penetrants, ultrasonic testing, and
radiographic abilities to discover defects in a variety of different
"This exchange has given us clear ideas of how to implement the
different NDI processes in order to establish and uphold an acceptable
maintenance program," said Honduran air force Master Sgt. Josué Molina.
Along with going over the processes of discovering defects, the 355th
EMS NDI team also stressed the importance of safety in the work center.
"The biggest thing that I've learned during this exchange is the
importance that is given to the safety of personnel on the job and how
critical it is to maintain an organized facility," added Molina.
Maintaining an enforceable safety standard is critical to ensuring a productive work environment.
"This exchange is important because it focuses on safety and emphasizes
the importance of knowing and understanding industry hazards," said U.S.
Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez, superintendent of 12th AF
(AFSOUTH) Plans, Requirements, and Programs section. "These are issues
that need to be communicated to their leadership so the Honduran air
force can safely perform these tasks and stand up their own NDI
Safety in the work center is one of the top priorities for the U.S. Air
Force. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the Air Force Ground
Safety Division manages safety standards and interprets Department of
Labor and industry standards for implementation throughout the Air
Force. It is also responsible for the development as well as oversees
ground safety policy, programs and procedures to provide a safe work
environment to help maintain combat capability and readiness.
Subject matter expert exchanges like NDI exchange provide useful
information that is helpful to the leaders within U.S. Southern
Command's partner nations.
"Exchanges like this help provide a large amount of information between
these two groups of experts," said Honduran air force Sgt. Jose Lopez.
"This is providing our subject matter experts with the information they
need to approach their leadership and make recommendations to improve
their work center."
Working hand in hand with USSOUTHCOM partner nations, such as Honduras,
helps solidify relationships and allows us to work as one team with the
shared goal of increasing inter-operability.
As part of USSOUTHCOM, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) is prepared to conduct joint
and combined full-spectrum military operations within the USSOUTHCOM
area of responsibility, in order to support U.S. national security
objectives and interagency efforts that promote regional security
"By helping our partner nations build themselves up, we are helping them
become more independent and as a result increase our inter-operability
so we are able to train and execute future missions together," said
Building up USSOUTHCOM partner nation capacity is an integral part of 12th AF (AFSOUTH) missions.
According to USSOUTHCOM, bilateral exchanges with partner nations
improve staff planning and operations, promote interoperability, and
support national security objectives. Educational programs help ensure
USSOUTHCOM and partner nations are better prepared to respond to shared
security challenges posed by transnational organized crime, terrorism,
and natural disasters.