Brazilian Air Force Visits Hancock Field

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Barbara Olney
  • 174th Attack Wing

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, NY. – The 174th Attack Wing hosted a delegation of eight officer and enlisted leaders from the Brazilian Air Force’s Aerospace Operations Command on June 6 at Hancock Field Air National Guard base.

Gen. Heraldo Luiz Rodrigues, the commander of the command, known by its Portuguese acronym of COMAE, and his team visited the base visit to gain a better understanding of the remotely piloted aircraft program.

The visit was conducted through the National Guard’s State Partnership program which teams state National Guard’s with foreign militaries.

New York initiated a state partnership with Brazil in 2019 and has conducted regular exchange visited yet.

The Brazilian, accompanied by Brig Gen. Denise Donnell, the Commander of the New York Air National Guard, were guided around the base by Col. William McCrink III, 174th Attack Wing commander.

McCrink started the visit with a mission briefing. Then Rodrigues and his team were then given a base tour that started with an up close look at MQ-9 Reaper maintenance.

Master Sgt. Eric Wintersteen, the 174th Maintenance group crew chief was performing an airframe and engine inspection on the MQ-9 when the Brazilian team arrived.

Wintersteen discussed the details of the inspection and all the parts required to be changed on the aircraft. He also explained what the inspection tracking process is and how maintenance is performed.

“We were able to showcase what we do and talk about maintenance to pilots from another country, “Wintersteen said. “They were interested and engaged.”

The visit continued at the 174th Formal Training Unit or FTU. The FTU provides training to pilot and sensor operators MQ-9 operations.

Next the team visited the 152nd Air Operations Group. The 152nd works with the Active Air Force’s 603rd Air Operations Group at Ramstein, Germany. The 152nd works with the 603rd to plan air operations.

Lastly, the visit included a tour of the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron. The 274th, whose Airmen work with fighter pilots and MQ-9 operators to provide close air support to ground forces, is part of the 107th Attack Wing. While the 107th is based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve station, the 274th calls Hancock Field home.

Rodrigues said his team got everything they wanted out of the visit.

“We’re really interested to improve relations between us and Air National Guard,” Rodrigues said. “These opportunities are very important to us.”

Donnell, said that hosting the Brazilians was important for the New York Air National Guard as well.

New York Airmen learn from the Brazilians and it is also a way to advance United States military-to-military relationships, she added.

“We are very committed to strengthening our relationship,” Donnell said.

The State Partnership Program was originally designed to link American state National Guard’s with the militaries in former Soviet allied nations. Since then it has grown to partnerships with 93 nations.

Along with the Brazilian partnership, the New York National Guard also has a partnership with South Africa and a bi-lateral training exchange relationship with Israel.