Master Sgt. Robert Zackery salutes as he exits a C-130J Super Hercules during a combined high-altitude, low-open, jump March 18, 2011, over a landing zone near Campia Turzii, Romania. This jump was conducted as part of Carpathian Spring 2011, an exercise where members of the U.S. military joined their Romanian counterparts to learn from one another and strengthen alliances. Sergeant Zackery is a jumpmaster assigned to the 4th Air Support Operations Group. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn L. Rich)
Airman 1st Class Austin Koester relays information to pilots of a C-130J Super Hercules as static line paratroopers prepare to exit for a jump March 18, 2011, over a landing zone near Campia Turzii, Romania. This jump was conducted as part of Carpathian Spring 2011, an exercise where members of the U.S. military joined their Romanian counterparts to learn from one another and strengthen alliances. Airman Koester is a loadmaster assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn L. Rich)
by Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn L. Rich
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
3/23/2011 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- After a week of training for more than 70 Airmen and Soldiers and their Romanian counterparts, Carpathian Spring officially came to a close March 18 in Romania.
Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron, the 435th Contingency Response Group, the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 5th Quartermaster Battalion were among the members involved in this year's event held at Airlift Base Otopeni and Campia Turzii, Romania.
The weeklong annual exercise was designed to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Romanian air forces, while enhancing their individual capabilities through training scenarios that are difficult to achieve at home station.
"All of our objectives were met," said Lt. Colonel Dan Watson, a 37th Airlift Squadron pilot and the deployed commander for the exercise, referencing not only the specific training requirements, but also the objective of enhancing the partnership between the two nations.
"I think that this (Carpathian Spring 2011) has gone very well," said Maj. Michael Sheldon, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe building-partnership-capacity coordinator for the exercise. "We do these often, and it gets better each time. We have gotten a lot of good work done here. We have done interflies, personnel and cargo drops, worked with the loadmasters, all while doing so very proficiently, and professionally working together with the Romanians."
Officials said the Airmen working out of Campia Turzii were instrumental in ensuring success.
"Our mission has been to support the 37th AS's training currencies," said Master Sgt. Bryan Lakin, a member of the 435th CRG and the team lead for the group at Campia Turzii. "We set up a covert landing zone using infrared lights, so they can do the night vision work on the runway. We have also been out here supporting night and daytime, combat offloads."
Airmen also worked with the Romanians in the air traffic control tower.
"Air traffic control, the duty priority, is to separate aircraft and issue safety alerts," said Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Vogel, a 435th Air Mobility Squadron contingency air traffic controller. "Nothing changes."
The equipment and the instruments the U.S. and Romanian forces work with may have some technological differences, but fundamentally they work on the same basic concept. However, that is not to say that the training did not come with any difficulty.
"This is why we do these, so it is not so challenging in the future," Sergeant Vogel said. "Each time, we seem to learn from past experiences. I am teaching them what our pattern profiles look like, in hopes that they are educated when they go down range and support us."
And because of this hard work, success was achieved not only on the ground, but also in the air.
The U.S. and Romanian paratroopers had their final static line and free-fall jumps under the cover of sunshine.
"It was a good jump," said Master Sgt. Robert Zackery, the 4th Air Support Operations Group military free-fall jumpmaster. "The weather was perfect; we couldn't have asked for better conditions."