IAAFA professional military education center garners top Air Force award

  • Published
  • By Vanessa R. Adame
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

Consistency, hard work and dedication. That’s what Capt. Yaira Saroli, flight commander of the 837th Training Squadron, points to as the reason for the Inter-American Air Forces Academy winning the Air Force’s Enlisted Professional Military Center of the Year Award.

This is the second time in three years that IAAFA’s EPME mission has earned the award recognizing the outstanding performance and exceptional contributions made by the community of civilian, military and partner nation instructors serving the Air and Space Force in 2021.

Saroli also credits the Academy’s “all in” effort from its members and leadership team in continuing an excellence of tradition that resonates beyond borders.

“Without the support from our leadership and fellow IAAFA members, we wouldn’t be able to carry out our mission and have the amazing impact that we have in the Latin American region,” Saroli said.

The academy offers PME to international military students from partner nations and to U.S. Air Force students all in Spanish and continues to build its capacity to support our neighbors and partners. This includes the delivery of the first SNCO course at the Academy last fall, making it the only U.S. Air Force institution to offer all three levels of EPME.

“This award showcases the level of professionals and in the commitment we have in developing the future officer and enlisted leaders in Latin America,” said Lt. Col. Oscar Martinez, 837th Training Squadron commander. “PME is used as one of the cornerstones of training and education that enables collaboration with Latin America partner nations and strengthens the bonds between students who will become future leaders.”

IAAFA PME leaders said the academy’s partner nation guest instructors have added relevancy to the mission, helping to modify learning objectives and close gaps that exist in Latin America between officer and enlisted relationships.

“Our PNGIs are the best of the best … their ideas and status in their services allow us to hit the mark with our students and help us evaluate our processes and how we go after the security cooperation mission as well as the diversity and inclusion mission with the Women, Peace and Security program,” Saroli said.

Martinez emphasized the support the academy has received has been crucial to its success.

“Being recognized as the Air Force’s PME center of the Year also highlights the support, advocacy and trust from the 37th Training Wing, from 2nd Air Force; IAAFA cannot reach its goals without senior leader buy-in.” Martinez said.