An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

RSAF partners with USAF for country’s first SNCO PME

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Charles
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

If you want to go fast, go alone. If we want to go far, we go together.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, U.S. Air Forces Central Command command chief, invoked this African proverb during the Royal Saudi Air Force’s first SNCO professional military education program graduation ceremony here, Dec. 11, 2019. The chief underscored the U.S.’s commitment to the partnership and professional collaboration between the U.S. and its regional partner.

This newly formed professional development partnership is seen by Saudi officials as an important step in solidifying the military development and cohesiveness of one of the U.S.’s strategic partners in the region.

“This is a major milestone in the Royal Saudi Air Force history,” said Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdualiz, RSAF general. “This would not have happened if not for the support of our colleagues in the U.S. Air Force. It’s a testament to the relationships both our nations share and the friendships we have developed over many years as we’ve built this coalition.”

The three-week course, which was designed and instructed by eight U.S. Air Force Airmen who specialize in senior enlisted development at Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, focused on leadership techniques, professionalism and joint military doctrine.

“This course will help with our NCO leadership in their professionalism and in the Royal Saudi Air Force’s own NCO academy,” said Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdualiz. “We look forward to continuing to build our coalition and relationships through more opportunities with the U.S. Air Force support in the future.”

The ceremony saw 28 RSAF SNCOs receive their certificates as graduates and earned them the distinct privilege of being the nation’s first to do so.

Chief Drinkard, a guest speaker at the graduation, addressed the newly graduated students and described the event as an opportunity to showcase the development of mission partners as the U.S. attempts to provide stability in the region. He went on to reiterate the importance of both nations collaborating to develop the NCO core and the backbone of the coalition in the region.

“This program demonstrates the continued commitment of both nations to work together and invest in the improvement and development of its senior enlisted core,” Drinkard said. “Only through a strong enlisted leadership core can we accomplish our mission effectively and solidify integration and interoperability.”

He also elaborated on how the new professional program in conjunction with the nations’ strong partnership would enhance the military coalition’s effectiveness in the region.

“As a coalition, we must find ways to integrate further and deeper so we are more effective in the battlespace,” Drinkard said. “Our greatest advantage over our common enemies is a professional and empowered NCO core.”

Earlier this year, leaders from RSAF contacted the U.S. Air Force and requested assistance in developing a RSAF SNCO professional development course based on a similar curriculum implemented in the U.S. Air Force’s SNCO Academy.

Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdualiz, who attended many U.S.-led training programs during his time in the RSAF, spoke highly of the newly implemented course and suggested working with the U.S. again in the future to further strengthen its own leaders and its ability to work collaboratively with its key ally in the region.

“The effective education and training system in the U.S. Air Force has had a deep impact on myself and the RSAF and I think it will have a big impact in the future of the Kingdom,” he said. “We look forward to more support and advice from the U.S. in the future to strengthen the coalition we have built through many years of collaboration and trust.”