U.S. Airmen Exercise In Israel For Middle East, Africa Missions
December 11, 2009
Ramstein Airmen train in Israel
Airman 1st Class
86th Airlift Wing
-"This is a great training opportunity as the environment has similarities to
where we would deploy to, such as Africa or the Middle East."
NEVATIM AIR FORCE BASE, Israel: It's not every day you get to see an American
flag flying next to the Israeli flag, but during a 10-day training and exercise
mission here, it was common to see Airmen walking around with not only the
American flag on their shoulder but also the Israeli national flag.
Members from Ramstein Air Base in Germany participated in the exercise Dec. 1-10
to accomplish various training requirements for the C-130J Super Hercules which
are not allowed in Germany because of country regulations.
"Training is hard to achieve in Germany because of the air space restrictions,"
said Capt. Sarah Santoro, 37th Airlift Squadron mission commander for the Israel
off-station training. "Some of the things we were able to accomplish in Israel
were dirt landings and low-level flying. This is a great training opportunity as
the environment has similarities to where we would deploy to, such as Africa or
the Middle East."
"Many of the pilots had never done a dirt landing, so they were excited to have
the chance," Santoro said.
Since the arrival of the first J-model aircraft to Ramstein in April, the 37th
AS has continued to build on their familiarity with the airplane.
"We are a young squadron new to the J-model, and we are continually building
experience for our pilots and crews," the captain added.
From the 37th AS to the 86th Operations Support Squadron, the 86th Maintenance
Squadron to the 435th Contingency Response Group, many Ramstein units
participated in the exercise.
More than 100 people participated in the training, each contributing their part
to the mission.
While in Israel, many of Airmen were also able to work closely and build
partnerships with the Israeli military members, something which many said was a
highlight of their trip.
"The Israelis were eager to host us as they are supposed to be getting J-models
in the near future," Santoro said. "They seem impressed with the airplanes...."
Not only did the airmen take away knowledge from their Israeli counterparts, but
the Israelis were also able to learn a great deal.
"Working with the Americans has been a great opportunity and learning experience
for us," Israeli Air Force Reserve Warrant Officer Amit Ronen said. "It has
allowed us to see what we will be working with in the future. We have also been
able to see how Americans work with the aircraft, and show them the way we do
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