Friends Introduce Friends

A Utah Air National Guard KC-135 graced Aeroexpo Marrakech 2012 in Morocco, recognizing the state’s longstanding partnership with the Royal Moroccan Air Force. “The hospitality that we have received so far is very generous, very friendly, and very outgoing,” said Lt. Col. Lisa Berente, a KC-135 pilot with the 191st Air Refueling Squadron in Salt Lake City. Utah Guardsmen have been “very engaged” with the RMAF through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program since 1993, noted Berente, paving the way for Air Forces Africa’s more recent cooperation. AFAFRICA has participated in exchanges on “everything from aircraft maintenance to air traffic control” since 2008, said Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, commander of 17th Air Force (AFAFRICA). “This is a different type of military engagement celebrating aviation and highlighting the ties that bind airmen together,” she noted. Also representing the Air Force at the expo were F-15Es from RAF Lakenheath, Britain; a C-130J from Ramstein AB, Germany; and some 100 airmen. The expo ran April 4-7. (Marrakech report by SSgt. Benjamin Wilson) (See also Wilson’s additional coverage: aeroexpo ends report and strengthening bonds report.)