TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - --
Five U.S. Airmen conducted a subject matter expert knowledge exchange with their Honduran counterparts to share best practices and increase partner nation capacities in aerospace medicine from April 4-6.
The three-day exchange allowed representatives from the United States and Honduran air forces to bridge gaps by sharing knowledge on flight medicine processes, logistics capabilities and shortfalls through an open dialogue between medics, doctors, aircrew and pilots to increase medical capacities.
"I'm very grateful to be here," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Diego Torres, 375th Operations Group, Detachment 4 flight nurse and evaluator, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "I’m very proud to be part of this team and select such professional individuals to come and represent the U.S. Air Force and to have a positive knowledge exchange, to build bridges and connections, and to solidify partner nation relationships with Honduras."
Marcela Servellon, Honduran government, Colonial Monterrey doctor of medicine, hopes the collaboration can improve efficiency and start progress.
"We've been exchanging information about how we work here in Honduras to evaluate pilots and the crew and also learned how they do it," said Sevellon. "We've learned and our past mistakes will help us become better, be more organized and have better communication between the pilots and crew. I hope that this can help us to have better communication between us and make a better institution, a better base and a better working experience."
For the members of the U.S. Air Force SME team, the experience was more than just discussing medicine. The opportunity proved more eye-opening than some expected.
"This has been a very wonderful experience, a very powerful experience for me," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ricardo Sequeira, 14th Airlift Squadron flight surgeon, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. "I'm taking with me a deep sense of joy of really having experienced the culture of Honduras. They're a wonderful people with their openness and a desire to improve their programs and just how hard they're working with their own program that they have set up. It's just a joy to participate in that and help them in any way that we can."
The sharing and fine tuning of ideas on how to refine different medical practices proved encouraging and beneficial for both countries involved.
"This knowledge exchange was very helpful because now we are aware of whether or not we are sufficiently prepared to do our mission," said Honduran air force Commando Dos Martinez Sevilla, Base Coronel Acosta Mejia crew chief. "It's very important that we all communicate well whether it's the doctors, the crew chiefs, or the pilots. Everybody has to be on the same page. It's very important to share knowledge in order for us to evolve and improve our air force."
Staff Sgt. Gabriel Trujillo, 779th Medical Operations Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, was amazed at the Hoduran air force's medical capabilites despite the obstacles that they might face.
"The Honduran air force impressed me with how much they do with what they have," said Trujillo. "They're very prideful in their job and the fact they might not have a lot to work with doesn't discourage them. They keep powering through. It's very remarkable."
The Honduran's tenacity and desire to improve is just one factor that makes Torres satisfied that the exchange was successful.
"The goal was surpassed," said Torres. "The goal was to talk to them, assess, find out what obstacles they're encountering and what we can do to allow them to maximize their potential and help them help themselves to provide a solid station and a framework for a very active and always ready program."
At the end of the global health exchange, members of both nations involved hope the friendships built doesn't end here.
"I think that all of you are very friendly and that has also helped us not only inside the working experience but I think our bonding has been good and I hope our bonding keeps going, we can keep in touch, and we can help each other," said Sevellon. "Thank you for coming here, thank you for supporting us and we hope that next time we can see the result of these past three days."