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    New York National Guard plays key role in U.S. participation in Africa's largest air show

    New York National Guard Airmen support South African Air Show

    Photo By Maj. Jean Kratzer | United States Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard poses with New York Air...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Jean Kratzer 

    New York National Guard

    WATERKLOOF AIR FORCE BASE, PRETORIA, South Africa – Thirty-nine New York Army and Air National Guard members are among 100 American military personnel representing the United States at Africa’s largest air show here, which began Sept. 14 and runs through Sept. 17.

    A New York Air National Guard C-17, flown by the 105th Airlift Wing in Newburgh, N.Y., an HC-130 search and rescue aircraft from the 106th Rescue Wing at Westhampton Beach, N.Y. and a MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft operated by the 174th Attack Wing from Syracuse, N.Y. were among the American aircraft on exhibit at the event.

    The African Aerospace & Defense Exposition, which is held every two years, features nearly 35 different countries and civilian and military aircraft and vehicles; with both flying and static displays from some of the biggest names in aviation. The event combines a trade show with an air show open to the public.

    The New York National Guard has a bi-lateral partnership arrangement with the South African National Defense Force as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program. This was the fifth time the New York National Guard participated in the air show.

    The New York National Guard, is a key support group that has a very long and enduring support with South Africa and their personal relationships has built a strong and trusting bond amongst the two countries, said Brig. Gen. Robert Huston, mobilization assistant to the Vice Commander, Third Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

    “For the Soldiers of South Africa it is such a positive experience to work with our service members. I am proud to help represent the New York National Guard and all they do to support this air show” said Huston, the ranking officer in the U.S. military contingent.

    “For over a year I have been working on planning the air show and one of the biggest parts of my job is building a relationship between the two countries. Any time we have the opportunity to engage and work with other countries we take the opportunity to do and use it as a learning experience” explained Lt. Col. Drew Cunnar, the Air Attaché at the U.S. embassy.

    During the trade and air shows, more than 140,000 people visit the base and view the aircraft.

    The New York Air National Guard planes were a hit with the South Africans.

    “I have seen this aircraft in the movies, and now I am here seeing it in person is a dream come true,” one South African serviceman said.
    The New Yorkers spent a lot of time talking with military members from other countries about their jobs and their aircraft.

    “It has been a really great experience working with all the people visiting the airshow and speaking to them about what we do and to answer their questions,” said Tech Sgt. William Luddy, who is a sensor operator for the MQ-9 reaper.

    “It is an honor to welcome business leaders and our guests from the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, and the New York National Guard to South Africa,” said American ambassador Patrick Gaspard during the opening of the U.S. pavilion.

    “This visit supports our partnership for prosperity with South Africa. At AAD, we are advancing the impressive wares of the U.S. military and companies and sowing the seeds of growth in Africa. The opportunities then flow in both directions across the Atlantic,” Gaspard said.



    Date Taken: 09.14.2016
    Date Posted: 09.14.2016 15:46
    Story ID: 209613
    Location: WATERKLOOF, ZA 

    Web Views: 536
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