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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | March 1, 2024

Washington Air Guard, Malaysia Sign Sister Squadron Pact

By Kimberly Burke, Western Air Defense Sector

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander, and Brig. Gen. Azman bin Jantan, the deputy assistant chief of staff operations and strategy of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, signed a sister squadron agreement Feb. 22, strengthening collaboration and defense ties. 

The signing occurred during the annual U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force Airman-to-Airman talks hosted at Pacific Air Forces Headquarters.

This agreement formalizes the enduring relationship between RMAF’s 320 Squadron, Control and Reporting Center 1, and the 225th Air Defense Group, Western Air Defense Sector, Washington Air National Guard.

The roots of this partnership trace back to 2018 when subject matter expert exchanges were established under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. These exchanges have enriched the capabilities of the Western Air Defense Sector and RMAF 320 Squadron Control and Reporting Center 1.

“We not only strengthen our defenses but also forge bonds that endure the test of time,” Welsh said. ”Our National Guard units, with their stable membership, uniquely foster long-term relationships that are invaluable.”

Col. Antony Braun, the 225th Air Defense Group commander and Western Air Defense Sector deputy commander, said the partnership has many benefits.

“The exchange of expertise between our Airmen and their counterparts in the Royal Malaysian Air Force is invaluable,” Braun said. “It’s not just about sharing knowledge; it’s about understanding each other’s cultures and approaches to our unique missions. The Airmen of the Western Air Defense Sector represent the pinnacle of air defense in the U.S. Air Force, and through programs like this, we continue to elevate our standards and those of our partners.”

The sister squadron relationship focuses on enhancing command and control for the air defense mission set, integrating data links, and information sharing. It also emphasizes ground control intercept tactics, techniques and procedures. 

“By furthering regional goals for air domain awareness and development of professional Airmen, this partnership establishes the foundation for mutually beneficial exchanges that emphasize detection, sensing and fusing information,” Braun said. “These exchanges ultimately strengthen both nations’ defense capabilities.”

This agreement marks a milestone in international cooperation and underscores the commitment of the United States and Malaysia to mutual security and prosperity.