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May 17 Press Briefing with co-hosts of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017

EVENT:

Please join us on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 11:00 GMT/13:00 CET for a telephonic press conference with U.S. Air Force Col Ricardo Trimillos, Air Forces Africa International Affairs division chief, and Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander and key leader and planner of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017. The speakers will discuss the importance of the symposium, U.S. and African air forces partnership, and U.S. commitment to strengthening security and stability across the continent.

BACKGROUND:

The African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS) is an annual conference that brings together air chiefs from across Africa for candid dialog to discuss and develop cooperative solutions to regional and continental challenges and threats.  Air chiefs from 30 nations will gather in Kasane, Botswana for the largest African Air Chiefs Symposium in its seven-year history.  U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa commander, Gen. Tod D. Wolters will co-host the symposium with Botswana Defence Force Air Arm commander, Maj. Gen. Innocent Phatswane.  This year’s symposium will focus on the training aspect of force development.

This is the seventh AACS. Previous hosts and topics of the AACS include Addis Ababa, Ethiopia focused on Safety (2011); Dakar, Senegal focused on Building Operational Frameworks for Cooperation (2012); Accra, Ghana focused on Counter Terrorism (2013); Douala, Cameroon focused on Air Operations (2014); Nouakchott, Mauritania focused on Promoting Airpower for African Challenges (2015); Ramstein, Germany focused on Mobility (2016).

DETAILS:

Speakers: Representatives from the co-hosts of the African Air Chiefs Symposium 2017: U.S. Air Force Col Ricardo Trimillos, Chief of international affairs for Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa; Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander Date:  May 17, 2017 Time: 11:00 GMT/13:00 CET * Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English.  French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered. Ground rules: On the record Dial-in Info: To be provided once you RSVP RSVP: RSVP to afmediahub@state.gov. Please indicate if you will dial in (specify English/French/Portuguese line), or request that we dial out to you (provide the phone number and language to be used). Twitter: We will use the hashtags #AFAfricaPress for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub and @hqusafepa

LOGISTICS:

  • Callers should dial-in to the conference call 10-15 minutes early. 
  • When an individual journalist dials-in, the operator will collect the caller’s name, press affiliation, and location.  When an embassy dials in, the operator will ask the embassy’s name and location.
  • The moderator will facilitate the Q and A among the connected callers.  Journalists on the conference call will be instructed to press the “*” and “1” buttons on their phones in order to enter the question queue. NOTE:  You can press “*1” at any time during the call to join the question queue, even before the moderator begins the Q and A portion.  We ask that journalists limit themselves to one question and indicate to which speaker the question is directed.  Journalists can also submit questions in English to afmediahub@state.gov prior to or during the call. 

BIO:

Col Ricardo Trimillos, Air Forces Africa International Affairs division chief

Colonel Trimiilos is the Chief of the International Affairs Division for United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa. He is responsible for executing over $4 million in military-to-military engagements, coordinating over $1 billion dollars in foreign military equipment and training sales, and leads a team of 33 country desk staff officers operating in three locations.

Colonel Trimillos is an Eagle Scout and a 1995 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. His prior assignments include serving as Deputy Division Chief for Mobility Forces and Director of Irregular Warefare Integration at USAF Headquarters, Air Force Intern for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for European Policy and Headquarters Air Force, RQ-4 test pilot and NASA DC-8 Earth Science Mission Commander at Edwards AFB, CA, Commander of the 314th Recruiting Squadron in New Jersey, Deputy Combat Plans Division Chief for the 613 Air Operations Center and KC-135 air refueling aircraft our of RAF Mildenhall, England and Altus AFB, Oklahoma where he was a flight instructor/evaluator and supported combat flight operations over Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan in support of Operations Allied Force, Northen Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle.

His awards and decorations include meritorious service medal with oak leaf clusters, air medal, aerial achievement medal, air force commendation medal with oak leaf clusters, army commendation medal, and army achievement medals.

Botswana Defence Force Air Arm Col Hendrick Thuthu Rakgantswan, Thebephatshwa Air Base commander

Col Hendrick Rakgantswan is the commander of Thebephstahwa Air Base in Botswana. He joined the Botswana Defence Air Arm Force in 1986 and commissioned as a pilot to the rank of second Lieutenant in 1987 upon graduation from the Botswana Defence Force in Gaborone, Botswana.

Following his commission, he was trained and qualified on the BS 120 (Bulldog) as a basic pilot, and on the BN 2 Islanarder as an operational pilot. Following that, he undertook a wide variety of military and non-military flying operations. From 1989 to 1997, he undertook anti-poaching operations in the Chobe/Kasane/Maun area where he conducted aerial patrols, aerial logistical resupply as well as search and rescue operations. Thereafter, he became a BDF Air Arm pilot instructor for a variety of aircraft including the Bombardier Global Express XRA, C-130, Gulfstream-IV, CASA 212, and BN 2 Islander. In 2006, he became a lieutenant colonel and was assigned to the VIP pilot for the Botswana Presidential Flight and then served in first command position as the squadron commander of the BDF Air Arm Military Transport Squadron. Prior to his current assignment as a base commander, he served as the Director of Air Operations for the entire Botswana military air and coordination civil-military operations.

Col Rakgantswan has over 6400 total flying hours and extensive international education and training. He became a qualified flying instructor at the Air Force Station in Tambaram, India, attended flight safety international training through aviation programs in Arizona and Georgia, completed C-130B pilot training at the CAE Tampa Training Center in the U.S., attended command in staff course at Arusha Staff College in Tanzania, pilot training on Bombardier Global Express at CAE in Montreal, Canada, completed his national security studies at the National Defense College in Kenya, and received his post graduate diploma in international studies through the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies program at the University of Nairobi.

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.