Nearly 90 students from 6 partner nations & U.S. among IAAFA graduates

  • Published
  • By Vanessa R. Adame

Approximately 90 students from six partner nations and the U.S. Air Force are the latest members to earn their wings, a highly-coveted honor symbolizing their graduation from the Inter-American Air Forces Academy.  

The service members graduated April 24, earning certificates from 11 courses in professional military education and leadership, aircrew training and technical courses. 

Leaders from throughout Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland joined IAAFA leadership for the graduation ceremony and banquet. Col. Christopher Callis, the Director of Plans, Requirements, Programs and Assessments Directorate from 12th Air Force, served as guest of honor for the evening banquet. 

Callis spoke of the importance of relationships he formed as a major in the Air Force and student at the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation. While there, he developed a close friendship with a lieutenant colonel from Panama who’s now serving as the Minister of Security of Defense in his country.  

“I don’t know if Juan Pino ever imagined that one day he would occupy the position that he’s in now as minister of security of a nation’s defense,” Callis said. “I only want to communicate what there is between you all as leaders of the future.” 

Callis encouraged the graduates to continue practicing the capabilities they learned at IAAFA to prepare themselves to assume leadership roles in the future.  

“Who knows,” Callis said. “We may soon have a future minister of defense here from one of our partner nations.” 

Following the speech, Col. Bryan Tuinman, IAAFA commandant, presented Callis with a gift of appreciation. Top performing students were also recognized including the Academic Achievement award for the highest-grade point average. Airman Basic Pablo Alvizures Garcia of Guatemalan Air Force earned the Academic Achievement award in the enlisted category. Major Leonardo Fabio Martinez Chiquiza of the Colombian National Police won the same award in the officer category. 

“Earning a certificate or wings from IAAFA is more than an achievement,” Tuinman said. “It’s a commitment to cultivate deep ensuring relationships through security cooperation, a commitment to continuous improvement, a commitment to accelerate change and a commitment to preserve peace and human rights. I, along with the entire family of IAAFA, are confident we can accomplish this and much more as a team.” 

IAAFA is aligned under the 37th Training Wing and provides instruction in professional military education and leadership, aircrew training and technical courses in Spanish.