DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, 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
“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 superintendent.
“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 superintendent.
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 materials.
“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 process.”
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
“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
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 cooperation.
“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 Vasquez.
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.
Author: Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman Source: 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ian Douglas, 355th Equipment Maintenance
Squadron nondestructive inspections lab journeyman, teaches members of
the Honduran air force how to conduct ultrasonic testing during a subject
matter expert exchange event on Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Aug. 19, 2015.
Ultrasonic Testing uses ultrasonic vibrations to detect internal defects,
delaminations, disbonds, and discontinuities. The five members from the
Honduran air force teamed up with 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and
the 355th EMS for a subject matter expert exchange that focused on a
variety of nondestructive inspections lab processes and maintenance safety
standards. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman/Released)