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    New York Army and Air National Guard team up for South African Air Show

    NY Army, Air Guardsman team up for African trade show

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Julio Olivencia Jr | A crowd gathers inside a C-17 Globemaster III to learn about the 105th Airlift Wing at...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Julio Olivencia Jr 

    New York National Guard

    WATERKLOOF AIR FORCE BASE, SOUTH AFRICA (Sept. 26, 2018) — Thirty-eight New York Army and Air Guardsmen worked together to represent the United States at the African Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 18 at Waterkloof Air Force Base, South Africa Sept. 19 to Sept. 23.

    The Guardsmen assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing, 109th Airlift Wing, Detachment. 1, of Delta Company of the 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, and New York Joint Force Headquarters participated as part of the State Partnership Program between New York and South Africa, which fosters an environment of community among the U.S. and international partners.

    “We’re all ambassadors here and we’re here to leave good impressions about the United States and about the U.S. military,” said Capt. Brian Monga, a pilot assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing.

    The goal was to show the South Africans what Americans are like, he explained.

    It took roughly 17 hours, with one stop, for Monga and his crew to fly about a dozen soldiers and Airmen along with a palletized RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial system in a C-17 Globemaster III.

    The Shadow is a small, remote-controlled aircraft that provides aerial surveillance capabilities for U.S. Army brigades.

    Monga said the biggest challenge was the planning phase of the mission and during the flight the main concern was the two hurricanes the crew had to deftly maneuver between.

    “We kept a close eye on that for several days before,” Monga said.

    A five-man Shadow team, from the 152nd BEB, flew to Stewart Air National Guard Base via CH-47 Chinook from the Army Aviation Support Facility in Rochester where they loaded the Shadow and other equipment onto the Globemaster.

    Tech. Sgt. Marchella Dukes-South, a loadmaster assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing, said having the owner of the equipment on hand was extremely helpful.

    “That comfortability they have is always a great thing,” Dukes-South said.

    Sgt. Timothy Strong, a mechanic assigned to Det. 1, said not only was working with the Airmen seamless, but his team felt they fit right in, even during downtime.

    “It’s been great,” Strong said. “The crew has been fun and willing to invite us to their activities even though we’re not in the Air Force.”

    Capt. Austin Luckenbach, commander of Det. 1, said the movement to South Africa also allowed his soldiers to see what it’s like if they were to mobilize with their equipment.

    “It’s an opportunity to see how you would get around, and how your stuff would get around, when you are preparing for war,” Luckenbach said.

    An LC-130 Hercules crew, assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing, took a slightly longer route.

    The LC-130 is the only aircraft in the United States military which can land on snow and ice using skis, as well as on a conventional runway. The aircraft are normally used to supply research stations in Antarctica and Greenland.

    The Hercules, which is smaller than the C-17, took about 38 hours over 4 days to get to South Africa.

    Maj. Christopher Husher, a pilot assigned to the 109th, said the biggest challenge flying for that long is rationing sleep and food.

    “Most people want to stay awake on the plane because they want to interact with the crew,” Husher said.

    Once in South Africa, the American soldiers and Airmen were on hand with their aircraft to tell locals of their capabilities and take photos with them.

    The Americans were a hit, with the tens of thousands of visitors over the course of the 5-day trade show and airshow. A long line formed to see the Americans and interact with them.

    Tech. Sgt. Mitchell Lake, a Hercules maintainer assigned to the 109th, had a blast talking with the locals.

    “They come to the plane, their eyes light up, they’re happy the Americans are here, they get to interact with us and I think it’s a really good partnership opportunity,” Lake said.

    The South Africans looked forward to further participation by the New York National Guard.

    Lt. Adolph Gossman, a helicopter pilot assigned to the South African air force, was particularly happy to see Americans at the show.

    “We are always glad to see the Americans coming to South Africa because it brings another type of culture to the AAD,” Gossman said.

    Gossman added that he’d like to see the U.S. take a bigger role in the next AAD exhibition in two years.

    “Hopefully when it’s 2020, and we have our 100th celebration, we would like to see more American aircraft and maybe some flying American aircraft,” Gossman said.



    Date Taken: 09.28.2018
    Date Posted: 10.01.2018 11:05
    Story ID: 295029
    Location: WATERKLOOF, ZA 

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