Building Partner Capacity in Africa

The 621st Contingency Response Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., will soon take on the new mission of helping African militaries establish their own air mobility systems. The wing stood up the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron in April to perform that role. “My mission is build partner capacity, and my goal is to leave them physically better than when we got there,” said Col. Chris Patterson, 621st CRW commander. The squadron is expected to be ready for initial operations in December; already, it has one-third of its 73 airmen in place, said wing officials. The first mentoring and advising mission likely will take place in Ghana by next spring. The airmen will teach the Africans tasks like how to establish command and control; set up an airfield; run an air-traffic-control system; develop a sustainable fuel supply; and train aircrews. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)