The Magazine of the NJ National Guard
Volume 32 Number 2
v32 n2 contents

Guardlife Index

Paraguayan Air Force Visits 108th
By Senior Airman Robbie Finley, 108ARW/PA; photos courtesy 108ARW/PA
Lt. Gen. Soley climbs out of the boom operator's pit after observing a mid-air refueling mission on March 15.
Members of the Paraguayan Air Force visited the 108th Air Refueling Wing March 3 through the 16. The 14-member team, headed up by Paraguayan Air Force Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Soley, spent time in New Jersey furthering their knowledge about the maintenance and operations of the KC-135E Stratotanker, which is almost identical to the Boeing 707, Paraguay's presidential aircraft, and the plane the Paraguayan Air Force crew maintains. "We are known as the heart of South America," Lt. Gen. Soley said of his home country.

The trip was conceived of in October, when Maj. Timothy Burke, a 141st Air refueling Squadron pilot, was asked by the Office of Defense Cooperation, Paraguay, if the 108th would be willing to assist the Paraguayan Air Force in learning more about the maintenance of their aircraft, since the aircraft are so similar.

"We told them yes, that it would be a great opportunity," remarked Senior Master Sgt. Robert Dempsey, Maintenance Superintendent, 108th Logistics Squadron. He added, "The Office of Defense Cooperation took care of all clearances, diplomatic issues and funding."

A team of four, headed by Senior Master Sgt. Dempsey, traveled to Paraguay November 5, and returned to the U.S. November 15. "We helped them evaluate maintenance conditions of their aircraft, their maintenance programs and compared similar aircraft problems," noted Senior Master Sgt. Dempsey.

Members of the Paraguayan Air Force pose for photo during a refueling flight on a 108th KC-135E Stratotanker. Left to right, Lt. Col. Aristides Dominguez, Col. Luis Noceda, Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Soley are escorted by Tech. Sgt. Porfirio Diaz, 108th ARW Quality Assurance Inspector.
While here, the Paraguayan Air Force members worked side-by-side with their 108th counterparts, but also had time to check out New Jersey in their spare time. "We liked the food. (and) we are making good friends," Lt. Gen. Soley said.

Besides learning useful maintenance tips, the Paraguayan Air Force toured the base and took trips on a C-17 Globemaster III and a KC-135E. Everyone involved felt that the visit was very productive.

"It was an outstanding effort from all involved. The exchange was very productive, and our people gained a new appreciation for the Paraguayan Air Force," Senior Master Sgt. Dempsey said.

The Office of Defense Cooperation is already working on a return trip.
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs