***image1***Ghana’s equivalent of the Air Force Chief of Staff visited Ramstein as a guest of 3rd Air Force Feb. 16.
The visit by Air Vice Marshal Edward Mantey, Chief of Air Staff for Ghana’s air force, was part of European Command’s Theater Security Cooperation plan that encourages visits by the leaders of foreign air forces in an effort to build military-to military relationships.
“The visit was a real eye opener,” said Marshal Mantey. “We felt it would be important to ask ‘what do (U.S. Air Force Airmen) do to make it so efficient?’”
Exchanging information about how the U.S. Air Force does business was the primary focus for both countries during the three-day trip that included visits to Royal Air Forces Mildenhall and Lakenheath
Marshal Mantey and other senior leaders from Ghana’s air force toured facilities and operations of the 100th Air Refueling Wing, 352nd Special Operations Group, 48th Fighter Wing and the 435th Air Base Wing.
According to Marshal Mantey, what struck him the most during his visit was the dedication and enthusiasm each Airman had for the mission as well as the awareness they displayed for how their job supported that mission.
On the surface, the missions of the U.S. Air Force and Ghana Air Force appear very different. Ghana’s military transport aircraft, helicopters and personnel typically support the government’s civil authorities with disaster management and search and rescue capabilities.
Beneath the surface, however, the missions are the same.
“Last fall I traveled to Ghana,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Gould, 3rd Air Force commander. “I received a wonderful reception from their well-disciplined, well-trained Airmen. As we continue with the Global War on Terrorism, it becomes clear that Ghana and the (United States) share the same concern – a war without boundaries.”
Both Marshal Mantey and General Gould agree: the engagement visits are about building lasting friendships that add value to both countries.
The Ghanians receive access to specialized teams that can help train their Airmen in flight safety, maintenance operations, personnel processes and enlisted force development.
For the U.S. Air Force, the relationship offers access to airfields and an ally in West Africa, according to General Gould.
“If our Air Force ever needed anything that Ghana could provide, I know Marshall Mantey would respond. These relationships are very important,” said General Gould.
Marshal Mantey agreed.
“We have very common interests,” said Marshal Mantey. “Terrorism has no boundaries. We shall open our arms and give the (United States) the assistance we can give.”