ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
The 36th Contingency Response Group is very active in multilateral exercises, disaster responses and wartime mission readiness. The CRG is a rapid-deployment unit designed to be a "first-in" force to secure an airfield and establish and maintain airfield operations. Within the CRG, is the 36th Contingency Response Support Squadron who’s air advisors play a vital role in Pacific unity.
“Air advisors strengthen and build partnerships,” said Master Sgt. Mark Hoover, 36th CRSS air advisor. “The United States can’t do their mission alone, so we have to continue to keep our partnerships strong.”
Pacific unity allows the U.S. to build interoperability between our forces and others.
“We show them how we do business and they show us how they do business,” said Hoover. “We learn from each other that way.”
Hoover explained how air advisors are liaisons between the country in need of help and the subject matter expert that provides the training or supplies needed. Whether its small capabilities like a piece of equipment or large operations for training pilots on how to fly and maintain certain aircraft.
“When we do a foreign military sell and we sell a country an asset like a forklift, they don’t know how to maintain or operate it,” said Hoover. “Therefore the Air Force Security Asset Training Squadron will pull together subject matter experts and send them to the country to provide that foreign military the training on the asset or capability we provide them.”
The air advisors have five core responsibilities. They advise, assist, asses, train and equip.
“Having contacts with the different countries we have worked with is so important,” said Hoover. “I can reach out to my POC in country X and say ‘Hey I know that last time we were there you had five forklifts but only two working, is that still the case?’ Then I will know what personnel I need to bring and what machinery I will or won’t need to take with us on the mission.”
Most of the time air advisors are the first contact the foreign military units will have with the U.S. Air Force. Air advisors are the key to bringing new relationships to the table and making more allies for future power projection in the Pacific.
“We are there to better their forces,” said Maj. Ian Bertram, 36th CRSS director of operations. “We interact, train and engage them to make their operations better across the board. This not only makes them better in the service of their own country, but strengthens our ties and makes us more interoperable.”
Bertram explained how air advisors are really good at understanding cultures and people. He said they help them understand this is why they do the things they do. Air advisors are the front, on the ground runners, to smooth things over with the locals. They explain why we do certain exercises and how it helps their local forces and population.
“We are the experts in how to deal with partner nations and how to deal with the cultural aspects of everyone in the theater,” said Bertram. “We help put the right people in the right jobs to strengthen international missions, that’s what we bring to the table.”