New York Guard Airmen participate in Bahrain airshow
By Senior Airmain Christopher S Muncy, 106 Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 16, 2012
SAKHIR, Bahrain -- SAKHIR, Bahrain - New York Air Guard Security Forces members from the 106th and 107th Security Forces Squadrons traveled to Bahrain to provide security and support to the U.S. aircraft and crew taking part in the Bahrain International Airshow on January 19.
The twice-yearly show has become one of the most popular of its kind in the region, attracting over 20,000 trade visitors and 22,000 public spectators this year alone.
Major Celestino Martinez, Commander of the 106th SFS, stated that "This was a great partnering opportunity all around. We not only got to work with AFCENT on one of the largest air shows in the world, but we were able to work alongside our fellow brother and sister Defenders in the 107th Airlift Wing. All of the Defenders executed their mission flawlessly. It's a testament to these Air National Guard warriors that they were recognized by not only AFCENT's Security Forces, but by Colonel Wakefield, the Director of ANG Security Forces for outstanding professionalism. We are proud of all of them."
Force protection for the visiting aircraft involved 13 Security Force Squadron members from the 106th Rescue Wing, who partnered with 13 Defenders from the 107th Security Forces Squadron during a two-week period. During this time, they maintained security over multiple Air Force and Navy aircraft, including C-17's, C-130's, SH-60 and HH-60 helicopters, F/A-18 Hornets, F-15 Eagles and a P-3 Orion. In addition, SFS members provided escorts to VIP's viewing the aircraft. A total of 84 aircraft took part in flying and static displays during the show, which included appearances by the Russian Knights, the Al Fursan UAE aerobatic team, and a formation flight involving a Gulf Air A330 flanked by Royal Bahraini Air Force F-5's and F-16's.
"The [VIP's] were extremely friendly. We gave them guided tours around and inside the aircraft, while they were extremely friendly towards us," according to SSgt Paul Clementi, a 106 SFS member who took part in the event. "There was definitely a lot of respect shown to us." At the start of the event, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met and shook hands with the SFS members. "As hard as we worked, we also enjoyed the mission," said TSgt Godfrey Gencarelli. "Members from both units worked seamlessly together as one."
The U.S. military has maintained a strategic partnership with Bahrain for the last 60 years due to its vital location as a hub between Asia, Africa and the European continent.