Aviation Communities Strengthen Ties at Ilopango Airshow

On January 26, Ambassador Jean Manes joined over 40,000 spectators from El Salvador, Central America and other countries for a day of aerial acrobatics, pyrotechnics and exhibits of aircraft at the 2019 Ilopango Airshow.

The United States was well-represented at Central America’s largest annual aviation event, with four American pilots participating in the aerial demonstration. A U.S. Army contingent from Joint Task Force Bravo, based in Honduras, provided tours of a Blackhawk helicopter, and U.S. Navy personnel from Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa in El Salvador exhibited a P-3C airplane. A band from the New Hampshire Air National Guard provided musical entertainment, with Ambassador Manes joining the band to sing a rousing edition of “Brown-Eyed Girl.”

The military-to-military and people-to-people ties fostered by the airshow support cooperation and improve coordination in confronting security challenges in El Salvador and Central America.  

Joint Task Force-Bravo, as guests of Honduran partners at Soto Cano Air Base and as the senior representative for the United States Southern Command, maintains a forward presence and conducts and supports joint operations, actions and activities in order to enhance regional security, stability and cooperation.  

CSL Comalapa provides critical logistics, infrastructure, and operational support to forward-deployed U.S. and partner nation aviation assets participating in Joint Interagency Task Force South-assigned counter-narcotic/illicit trafficking operations, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command-directed humanitarian missions, and search and rescue efforts.

The New Hampshire National Guard participates in subject matter expert exchanges and community relations events like the air show as part of the New Hampshire-El Salvador state partnership, which has existed since 2000.