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380AEW Article

US, UAE conduct joint professional development course

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Military personnel from the U.S. Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces conducted a joint professional development course, at Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, Aug. 24, 2023, strengthening interoperability and reinforcing the partnership between the two nations.

Working side-by-side, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing non-commissioned officers and their Emirati counterparts honed their communication skills during the course, learning how each other executes fundamental supervisor duties such as feedback and counseling.

“Yes we might wear different colors, different uniforms, different flags on our shoulders, but beneath these clothes and beneath these flags, we are the same,” said Senior Warrant Officer Majid Omair Alharthi, UAE Air Force and Air Defense Protection Group chief. “Soldiers are Soldiers. Airmen are Airmen. Everywhere. We are all the same.”

In October 2022, the U.S. Air Forces Central Air Warfare Center (AAWC) laid the foundation for this collaboration when they facilitated an Emirati training event, bringing in a U.S. Mobile Training Team to teach a month-long professional military education (PME) course.

Afterwards, Emirati leadership requested more training opportunities for their troops, so the AAWC designed a monthly joint PME schedule to bring together the U.S. and UAE members and bridge the gap through mutual education.

“Airmen come from all walks of life, and that is no different for our host nation service members,” said Senior Master Sgt. Richard Connell, AAWC senior enlisted leader. “Events like this are a chance for us to get to know one another from a personal standpoint and realize that all of us are the same inside. We just have to spend time together to find that common ground.”

After the initial iteration of the course in July 2023, the AAWC refined the training modules based on feedback from the students and Emirati leaders to reinforce the most important aspect of the lessons: the relationships.

“We learned some lessons on both sides from that event and came together to build a more interactive course that allowed the students to have a lot more time for one-on-one discussions,” said Connell. “This iteration was a big hit and almost all of the feedback provided by the students from both forces was extremely positive.”

During the training, experienced 380th AEW senior non-commissioned officers delivered the coursework, designed specifically to break down barriers between the students with common topics both nations’ members face within their day-to-day duties.

“The overall goal was for the U.S. and UAE members to work together and learn about one another,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Hubbard, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron facility systems superintendent and course coordinator. “I feel like we met that target. I think that getting to know our Emirati teammates on a personal level is awesome and strengthening our bond only helps with the mission.”

As these monthly events continue, the AAWC’s goal is to expand the course across multiple days and incorporate more instructors from both forces to lead training and share their insight.

“We are building an extremely positive relationship through this collaboration, and it can only grow from here,” said Connell. “I am especially proud of the way that our team from the 380th AEW and the AAWC have been able to come together to work these courses out in very short periods of time to make the magic happen.”

Through training like this, the U.S. and UAE personnel reinforce the trust between the two partner nations, building their ability to communicate and integrate when the mission demands it.

“Professional development and growth is a continuous process regardless of your branch of service, rank, and country that you proudly serve in and for,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Murphy, 380th AEW command chief. “I could not be more proud of the students of this course and their dedication to building our capabilities and partnership.”