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By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo April 24, 2017 The XXIV Operations Committee of the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, per its Spanish acronym) was held March 6th–9th with the goal of organizing cooperative strategies and coordinating a combined exercise that will focus on disaster situations in Chile. The event was held at the Air Combat Command No. 5 of the Colombian Air Force (FAC, per its Spanish acronym) in Rionegro, department of Antioquia. Delegations from the air forces of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay attended the event. “The main objective [of the meeting] is to exchange experiences, knowledge, and training with the goal of raising the capacities of air forces in the Western Hemisphere, to ensure the success and security of combined operations during natural disasters and emergencies in support of the civilian population,” Major General Tadeo Borbón, chief of air operations for FAC, told Diálogo. Results During the event, SICOFAA member countries agreed that Exercise Cooperación (Cooperation) V will be held in Chile from September 26th to October 7th. More than 210 officers and specialists from the 20 nations comprising the apolitical organization will participate in the event, as well as 23 aircraft. The hypothetical scenario will involve an earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, and the capsizing of a cruise ship transporting 5,000 passengers. “Thirteen countries expressed their commitment to participating, which could make it the largest cooperation exercise to date,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Anthony G. Cook, secretary general of SICOFAA, told Diálogo. Within the strategic planning project for the training in Chile, the air forces will conduct search-and-rescue and parachuting missions, air drops, aeromedical evacuations, passenger and cargo transport missions, and operations on semi-prepared airstrips. “The joint exercises help standardize procedures and increase the synergy among partner nations. Air forces learn from each other and leadership is created. The more we become integrated and get to know each other, the better our joint operations will flow,” Maj. Gen. Borbón said. SICOFAA has also established mechanisms and strategies to strengthen the medical response during disasters. And in order to ensure the interoperability of the manifold capacities of air forces throughout the Americas, it was also able to improve transportation logistics. For example, a team of seven officers and a Black Hawk helicopter belonging to FAC will participate in the combined exercise. However, it is difficult to transfer the fully outfitted helicopter to Chile. “FAC is analyzing the possibility of transferring the aircraft on board a U.S. Air Force plane,” Maj. Gen. Borbón explained. Planning and coordinating logistics in a joint manner allows the air forces to achieve greater progress. FAC also reported in a press release that members shared knowledge in the areas of science, technology, doctrine, and advances in aerospace medicine. “The XXIV Committee served as the main planning conference for Exercise Cooperación V and it facilitated coordination among a great number of SICOFAA member air forces,” Col. Cook said. A delegation from the committee toured the National Center for Personnel Recovery in FAC’s Military Transport Air Command (CATAM, per its Spanish acronym). The center brings together Colombia’s humanitarian aid organizations and the ministries of Social Protection and Interior to optimize response time during natural disasters, the recovery and evacuation of personnel injured during combat, and medical care to victims in emergencies. Coordinated aid “None of our countries are immune to natural disasters. Cooperación V gives us the chance to meet and train together in realistic scenarios so we can be prepared to respond together when faced with such an emergency,” Col. Cook said. “During Cooperación V, we have a set of shared procedures, shared doctrine, and even shared software,” he noted. “The greater the participation, the greater our confidence in our procedures will be, and the greater our capacity to integrate our efforts in the air forces of the Americas for the fast and efficient use of air assets in response to a disaster,” he added. Because a large majority of countries in the region and around the world do not have their own capacity to respond to large-scale natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and fires, coordinated action by partner air forces – such as in Peru in March – becomes indispensable. The SICOFAA cooperation system demonstrated its usefulness during the emergency caused by the coastal El Niño, a meteorological phenomenon that battered Lima and northern Peru. On that occasion, the air forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States joined efforts to help the victims of the heavy rainfall and flooding in Peru. “Humanitarian exercises are indispensable because they allow the hemisphere’s armed forces to adapt their operations in the fight against the effects of climate change,” César Ortiz Anderson, president of the Peruvian Association for Public Safety, told Diálogo. SICOFAA has participated in diverse combined training exercises. The most recent, Cooperación IV, took place in April 2016 at the 4th Air Brigade of the Argentine Air Force in Mendoza. On that occasion, officers from 14 partner air forces conducted virtual search-and-rescue operations and had support duties in the affected areas. “The air forces of the Americas are a huge added value for our hemisphere. We have regional stability, we share confidential information, and we maintain strong, healthy relationships,” Maj. Gen. Borbón said. “SICOFAA seeks to ensure the sovereignty of the airspace belonging to each of the territories it is composed of, to combat any transnational threat, and provide humanitarian assistance.” In response to recent disasters, SICOFAA has managed to create a sense of unity among the air forces of the Americas. “One definition of this cooperation could be ‘today for you, tomorrow for me.’ In SICOFAA we like to go further and say, ‘united allies,’” Col. Cook concluded.
19 Sep 2019 England’s Senior Men follow European glory with Home International crown England completed a golden double when they won the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Alnmouth Golf Club.The English team (pictured above) were crowned as European Men’s Senior champions a couple of weeks ago in Denmark and they added the domestic Home Internationals title to their name when they halved on the last day in Northumberland with last year’s champions Scotland.England and Scotland set up the decider after both teams beat Ireland and Wales in the earlier rounds and it was the English who won on points when they halved a tense closing match 4 ½ -4 ½.The Scots led 2 ½ – ½ after the foursomes but they knew they also needed a big win in the singles to overhaul their rivals and in the end it was the English who battled back to tie the match and secure the silverware.Scotland’s Ronnie Clark beat England’s Ian Attoe 3 & 2 in the top singles but wins by Rich Jones and Paul Wharton got England back on track before Scotland regained the initiative when Derek Paton beat Alan Mew. Richard Norton also supplied a point for England with a 6&5 victory over Richard Johnston but it was only when Rupert Kellock beat Robert Smith by one hole in the final singles that the match was tied.“It was very tight all day,” said English captain, Roy Smethurst, before announcing he was to stand down as captain after five years at the helm.“We were two down after the first two games in the foursomes so the half in the last game was crucial to give us a toehold in the match.“We knew we’d face a tough match against the Scots and that’s exactly what we got. We’re just delighted to secure another victory to add to the one in Denmark. It’s been a great couple of weeks for us all.“I’ve decided to step down as captain at the top,” he added. “It has been great while it has lasted but I can’t stand the pressure anymore so it’s time to pass it on to a younger man.”Photograph credit: Leaderboard Tags: Senior Home Internationals
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin smiles as he warms up at the start of NFL football practice Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are scheduled to play in the Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)NEW YORK (AP) — He caught just one pass during the regular season, and did nothing but watch from the sidelines when the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to get to the Super Bowl.Funny, though, how many people can’t stop talking about Percy Harvin.“Percy is an atomic bomb,” Seattle receiver Ricardo Lockette said. “He is the ultimate weapon for our offense.”“When he gets in the game, I think everyone has to yell, ‘He’s in! He’s in! There he goes, number 11, number 11,” said Denver cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “He is a guy that can make it happen from everywhere on the field. You have to watch him.”So far there hasn’t been much to watch in Harvin’s brief tenure with the Seahawks, unless you happened to be at the bank when he deposited the first chunk from the $67-million contract he signed after being acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for a handful of draft picks. There was a time near the end of the season when the odds of Harvin being put on injured reserve for the year were a lot better than they were of him playing in the Super Bowl.But in the Super Bowl he is, and the speedy receiver who can’t seem to stay on the field could be a difference maker against the Broncos.It’s a possibility Harvin is eager to embrace.“I’ve been hearing X-factor and this talk,” Harvin said. “This is not my first rodeo. I’ve played in a lot of football games and I’ve been effective at doing that. I’m not worried about anything other than what I’ve always done, and that is go out there and play football the way I know how.”No one has ever doubted Harvin can play football. He caught passes — and lots of them — from Tim Tebow at Florida, and had some electrifying catch-and-runs in the four years he played for the Vikings.What Harvin has had is trouble staying healthy, from migraines that seemed to always occur at the wrong time to the hip injury the Seahawks didn’t see coming. And just when it seemed he might be healthy enough to give Seattle a playoff boost, he suffered a concussion when his head bounced off the turf of CenturyLink Field after leaping for a pass in the end zone in the second quarter of a 23-15 divisional playoff win over New Orleans.His season stat line is a disjointed one, with Harvin on the field for a total of just 40 snaps. Including the New Orleans game he’s caught just four passes for 38 yards.Hardly the kind of numbers that might keep Denver defensive backs up at night worrying. But worry they do, because Harvin can line up anywhere and do things that can change games once he gets the ball.“You have to know your history on Percy Harvin,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “You have to go back and watch the film at Minnesota, see how they used him there, and see that he can do some things. You have to understand he is a guy that can play every position from the backfield to the outside to being in the slot.”Just a few weeks ago, the Seahawks were about to give up on Harvin. His roster spot was too valuable to waste, and if it weren’t for an impressive workout session with quarterback Russell Wilson that doubled as a postseason tryout the day after the regular season, Harvin would likely have been done for the year.He almost gave up himself.“I’m going to be really blunt and straightforward. If it wasn’t for my teammates being there for me the way they were, I might’ve just shut it down,” Harvin said. “Just being discouraged, there came a point in time where the training staff didn’t know whether it was a smart idea to try to come back in the same season. I probably would’ve been done with the season if it wasn’t for my teammates.”If the playoff game with New Orleans is any indication, expect Harvin to get a lot of touches Sunday night. He’ll be used in the slot and split out wide, and he will be the primary kickoff and punt returner for the Seahawks.Break a return or a tackle or two on a route, and it’s entirely conceivable he plays a deciding role for a team that doesn’t have a lot of explosiveness without him.“I want to hold up my end of the bargain and do the things I was brought here to do,” Harvin said. “I’m looking to go out there, play a great game and try to make some plays for my teammates. Just being out there with them gives me joy.”Playing in the Super Bowl could salvage a season for Harvin and make up for a lot of frustration for him and the coaching staff.And playing well in the Super Bowl could give Seahawks’ fans a lot of joy, too.____Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg