A group of Brazilian Air Force instructors at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy received awards within the U.S. Air Force International Instructor Exchange program.
Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) service members received high honors during their tour of duty at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA), located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. FAB Major Allan Buch Sampaio, FAB Chief Master Sergeant Adalberto Bruzzio, and FAB Chief Master Sergeant Ed Willy S. Oliveira, won the Best Foreign Instructor 2017 award in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) International Instructor Exchange Program.
The IAAFA award also recognized another Brazilian officer, FAB Lieutenant Colonel Tony Gleydson. The colonel took first place in the Instructor Training course at the Air Education and Training Command (AETC).
The Brazilian instructors’ duties at IAAFA fall under a bilateral agreement signed between USAF and FAB. The program, initiated in 2012, remains in effect for 10 years, with provisions for renewal. “We’ll have Brazilian instructors here at least until 2022,” Maj. Buch told Diálogo.
High marks for Brazilian instructors are nothing new. FAB Colonel Pedro Henrique Cavalcanti de Almeida also received the award for best foreign instructor. He was the first Brazilian officer to participate in the exchange program from 2012 to 2014, when he was a lieutenant colonel.
According to the FAB Press Agency, IAAFA courses are held three times a year. During each cycle, instructors’ technical performance is assessed based on USAF and AETC criteria. Then, in May, September, and December IAAFA honors one USAF and one guest instructor for their high performance in the USAF and the Partner Nations Guest Instructor categories, respectively.
FAB Maj. Buch teaches the Inter-American Squadron Officer School program (ISOS) at IAAFA. The program replicates the professional military education course held at USAF’s Air University in Montgomery, Alabama. “The only difference is that the official language of the classes at the inter-American academy is Spanish, because our target audience includes leaders of Latin American countries. But, we also have USAF captains who are selected through a competitive internal process to do their career coursework at IAAFA,” said Maj. Buch, whose duties abroad end in July 2018.
“Despite being an Air Force academy, this institution receives many students from the army, navy, marine corps, national police forces, and other government public security agencies. The diversity of countries and experiences is what makes the ISOS program so interesting,” said Maj. Buch, adding that the program includes students from all nationalities—in 2017 it counted with an Angolan student. “This shows that the course has a reputation in other areas beyond U.S. Southern Command’s area of operations.”
According to Maj. Buch, the ISOS curriculum is built on five areas of study: communication, leadership, international security, profession of arms, and aerospace power, from which all guided discussions and hands-on activities arise. The key to good instruction, Maj. Buch noted, rests on the awareness that each student brings different knowledge and experiences to the classroom. “Understanding the diversity of behavior is essential to promote good discussions. Empathy and respect for pluralism of ideas are also essential. Additionally, you need to know how to combine academic rigor with a lighter mood for discussion, and also how to blend formal evaluations with less formal activities,” he said.
Chief Master Sgt. Willy, a specialist in aircraft maintenance, teaches the Resource Management for Aircraft Maintenance course. Classes are held on the premises of the 318th Training Squadron, one of IAAFA’s squadrons. Students are from different Latin American armed forces and security agencies that use air assets. “In this course, I teach classes on the subjects of leadership, maintenance doctrine, logistics, and flightline operations,” Chief Master Sgt. Willy said.
According to the noncommissioned officer, who will remain in the United States until March 2019, subject knowledge and dedication in the classroom are essential for a job well done. “I served for five years in the training section of the 1st Squadron, 5th Air Group, in Brazil, and as an instructor, I participated in the Flight Crew Instructors Training course in the Specialized Tactical Training Group. Those experiences in Brazil form the basis of the knowledge that I apply to my teaching here in the United States,” he said.
Chief Master Sgt. Willy said that in addition to the honor of representing his country and FAB at an institution such as IAAFA, the award is also a form of international recognition. “It’s the capstone to the work I’ve done over the course of my 26-year career,” he said.
“For those of us representing FAB at IAAFA, to receive such an honor over the three academic trimesters of 2017, competing with high-level professionals from five other countries, reflects on our instructors’ level of professional knowledge and our dedication—acquired over years of service in the Brazilian Air Force—to carry out the mission based on the intrinsic values of our institution,” Maj. Buch said. “I’m very grateful for the knowledge and training I received at the Air Force Officers Training School (EAOAR, in Portuguese), the FAB military organization where I worked when I was assigned to this duty. This award is in large part due to them,” he said.
Awards are based on two criteria, said Maj. Buch. The first is purely technical—instructors are evaluated in a formal classroom setting—and the other is work done outside the classroom. “The rigor and professionalism of the classes at EAOAR, where I was an instructor, prepared me for this kind of technical evaluation. In terms of professional performance, my commander’s confidence in allowing me to assume responsibilities that are normally assigned only to USAF staff boosted my performance rating,” Maj. Buch said.
IAAFA was established in 1943. The mission of the organization is to increase exchanges among the 22 nations of Latin America through the dissemination of military technical knowledge in 32 training courses. In addition to USAF instructors, the academy also features 11 guest instructors from six Latin American countries—Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic—including the first female fighter pilot from the Dominican Republic.