Army Reserve, Ports to restore Aguadilla airport’s visual perimeter
The Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla became the first facility in Puerto Rico to benefit from military assistance from the Innovative Readiness Training Program through the US Army Reserve in Puerto Rico, through a collaborative project with Puerto Rico Ports Authority to restore the facility’s sight perimeter and security.
The collaboration marked the first time that Ports presented the training opportunity to the US Department of Defense and that it was approved for this fiscal year, Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá confirmed.
The goal was to get the Army Reserve’s assistance to optimize air operations, security, and other vulnerabilities adjacent to the Aguadilla Airport with the evaluation of military engineers.
In January 2022, Ports applied under the IRT program to the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, which was approved, with work starting late last month, he said.
“We thank the Department of Defense, through its IRT program, and the US Army Reserve in Puerto Rico for the opportunity they have given us through this collaborative project that facilitates the restoration of the visual perimeter of the Aguadilla Airport by eliminating, clear and reestablish the existing vegetation in that periphery,” said Pizá.
“This also facilitates the improvement of the technical capabilities of the Army Reserve participants when performing the requested service tasks. Soon, we will be managing the request for the program for the airports of Ceiba, Vieques and Culebra,” said Pizá.
The training opportunity at the Aguadilla airport increases the experiences of soldiers to operate in a tropical environment that is difficult to replicate and that fosters community innovation and collaboration, said Colonel Carlos M. Cáceres, commander of the first Mission Support Command.
“The US Army Reserve in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands has around 5,000 soldiers with highly technical, specialized, and professional skills in the areas of logistics, transportation, engineering, and information technology, among others,” he said.
“Since 1992, reservist soldiers have completed missions in different parts of the world, including Puerto Rico, therefore, it is of the utmost importance to publicize our preparation and continuous commitment to serve our citizens,” Cáceres said.