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USAFSOS Spanish course strengthens bonds with Latin American allies

  • Published
  • By Erica Vega
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
Uniforms from nine different countries and services filled the halls of U.S. Air Force Special Operations School Sept. 8-19, as students from across Latin American countries attended the first Building Partner Aviation Capacity Course held in Spanish.

This iteration of BPACC, conducted almost entirely in Spanish, is a two-week course bringing together partner nation military and civilian personnel with their U.S. counterparts and build a shared, practical vision for aviation resource development.

“This course was created in response to requests by security cooperation officers assigned to U.S. Embassies in Latin America,” said Susan R. Alaniz, USAFSOS Theater Engagement Division chief. “Several SCOs liked the idea of (this) course, but thought that they could get more Latin American leaders to attend if it was offered in Spanish.”

The course drew 14 international students from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay as well as a select group of 22 U.S. citizens.

“This is a chance to engage and build a partnership with senior leaders from U.S. South Command on our territory,” said Lt. Col. Trevor B. Benitone, USAFSOS commandant.

Connecting with U.S. allies in Latin America was a key goal of the course.

Usually this course is conducted quarterly and in English with students from many different theaters. This edition of BPACC is unique because all of the foreign participants are from the same theater.

“It’s a great networking opportunity for us,” Maj. Patricia Castro, Andean Ridge Regional Engagement Branch from Special Operation Command South said. “This helps strengthen lines of communication for when we engage in Latin America…and understanding culturally how they operate helps us do our job better.”

Alaniz explained this seminar is an opportunity for interactive discussions, not only between the students and the instructors, but also among the course participants.

This network supports the U.S. Southern Command vision of fostering security, ensuring stability and promoting prosperity throughout Central and South America.

“The reality is that we face common threats and only through these courses are we able to help each other find solutions,” said Col. Pablo Soriano, 1st Air Brigade commander from El Salvador.

USAFSOS is looking into the possibility of offering the class again in the future due to the amount of interest already generated.

“Normally when we come to the U.S., due to their lessons learned and the experience that they have, we always acquire knowledge,” said Capt. de Navio Gonzalo Ciganda, Naval Aviation Group commander from Uruguay.

Magnifying the classroom curriculum, students will visit three types of airfields to expose them to different airport operations and infrastructure. They will also visit the Okaloosa County Courthouse to hear from law professionals and see actual court proceedings.

For more information on USAFSOS and upcoming courses visit