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IAAFA International Military Student Officer Team named best in Air Force

Members of the International Military Student Officer Team at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy gather for a photo at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Members of the International Military Student Officer Team at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy gather for a photo at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. They were recently named the Air Force Team of the Year, Large Category, for 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Vanessa R. Adame)

The first group of Alpha-cycle students at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy arrive at the San Antonio International Airport Jan. 13, 2021.

The first group of Alpha-cycle students at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy arrive at the San Antonio International Airport Jan. 13, 2021. Support for these students is provided by IAAFA’s International Military Student Officer Team. They were recently named the Air Force Team of the Year, Large Category, for 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Vanessa R. Adame)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The International Military Student Officer Team at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy has earned the Air Force Team of the Year Award, Large Category, for 2020.

This is the second time the IMSO team has earned this distinction. The Air-Force level award recognizes the outstanding efforts of training activity for organizations which provide exceptional management and administrative support to International Military Students (IMS) across the Air Force. Nominees are scored on job performance, educating staff, innovation and initiative in the Field Studies Program, and effectiveness in managing IMS issues.

 “Winning the IMSO Team of The Year award is a great and humbling honor, and a testament to the hard work of each and every International Student Manager,” said Javier Peraffán, IAAFA IMSO Director.

The IAAFA IMSO team competed against three major commands in the large category. The group’s accomplishments during the last year included the reopening of in-residence training during COVID-19, the implementation of COVID-19 procedures, and coordinating emergency evacuations of nearly 90 international students across nine countries. IAAFA has been the only Department of Defense academy to conduct in-person training for America’s international partners since the beginning of the global pandemic. Their work and dedication supported the graduation of 38 in-person and 121 virtual learning environment IMS in December 2020, a first for the Air Force.

The IAAFA IMSO provides non-academic support to approximately 900 international students per year. The international student support members care for the students from their arrival at IAAFA until they depart. This includes many hours accompanying the non-English speaking students to official appointments, such as obtaining identification cards, to facilitate translation.

“This award is a reflection of the team’s commitment to excellence, ability to adapt during unprecedented times and continued interaction with our Combatant Commanders to better understand the training needs of our Partner Nations,” said Col. Rockie Wilson, 37th Training Wing commander. “It’s clear to anyone who has worked with or visited IAAFA that they are passionate ambassadors to our Partner Nations in Latin America and experts in the use of 'soft power' in our efforts to compete globally.”