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US, French airmen build trust in the skies over France

Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron traveled to Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France to work with the 2/61 Transport Squadron Franche Comte and their transition to the new C-130J Super Hercules March 18-19, 2019.

U.S. and French air force pilots conduct a training flight on a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules over Orleans, France, March 19, 2019. U.S. and French aircrews conducted an interfly mission with U.S. and French C-130Js to certify the Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France, to be able to conduct cargo delivery system drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin M. Rumbaugh)

Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron traveled to Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France to work with the 2/61 Transport Squadron Franche Comte and their transition to the new C-130J Super Hercules March 18-19, 2019.

U.S. and French air force aircrew members stand for a group photo in front of a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules on Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France, March 19, 2019. U.S. and French aircrews flew together during the off-station training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin M. Rumbaugh)

Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron traveled to Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France to work with the 2/61 Transport Squadron Franche Comte and their transition to the new C-130J Super Hercules March 18-19, 2019.

A C-130J Super Hercules, assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, flies through the skies over Orleans, France, March 19, 2019. French aircrews flew on U.S. C-130Js to develop their capability with the new model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin M. Rumbaugh)

Members of the 37th Airlift Squadron traveled to Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France to work with the 2/61 Transport Squadron Franche Comte and their transition to the new C-130J Super Hercules March 18-19, 2019.

U.S. and French air force C-130J Super Hercules pilots listen as a pre-mission briefing is held on Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France, March 18, 2019. U.S. and French airmen flew together to train each other on different tactics used by each air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin M. Rumbaugh)

ORLEANS-BRICY AIR BASE, France (AFNS) --

Members from Ramstein Air Force Base traveled to Orleans-Bricy Air Base, France, to conduct C-130J Super Hercules flying training with the French air force for an off-station training March 18-19.

Pilots and loadmasters from the U.S. and French air forces flew on each other’s aircraft to familiarize themselves on the similarities and differences in their operating procedures.

“One of the big things is that France is one of our partner nations,” said Capt. Christopher Espinosa, 37th Airlift Squadron executive officer. “We don’t get to train with them a lot. Being able to come out here and build a relationship that we can foster and train further in the future is an amazing opportunity.”

The French air force 2/61 Transport Squadron recently started the transition from their aging C-130H Hercules models, and began training on their newly acquired C-130J models in early 2018.

“For me specifically, I am training to become a multi-element flight lead and need to fly with three aircraft,” Espinosa said. “For us to be able to fly out two U.S. aircraft, and for the French to support a third, is an awesome training opportunity. Furthermore, we’re able to interfly with them, they are able to fly on our aircraft and see how we operate. We can provide some training for them, for this trip specifically, we trained on cargo delivery system procedures as they begin to develop their capabilities with the same aircraft that we have.”

This training marked the first joint C-130J training for both nations, working together and developing relations along the way.

“A lot of planning went into the exercise to make sure all the paperwork was in order,” said 1st Lt. John Kornahrens, 37th AS C-130J copilot. “It led to the fact that the opportunities are there, and with some of our partner nations, we can really get necessary training done for both parties in a joint environment.”

This off-station training was important as the experience improved upon the capability of airmen in both militaries.

“It just shows that we are all on the same team,” Kornahrens said. “Just because we have a certain capability, does not mean the French do and vice versa. It always represents a learning opportunity for both countries to understand each other and how they fly, and their culture and how their military operates.”

The training ended with approximately eight cargo delivery system bundles dropped and approximately 20 hours of training flights accomplished in skies over France.

“The thing I want to communicate is how important these partnerships are for the U.S. military, and for our allies,” Espinosa said. “It’s a global effort to combat terrorism, and the threat that we have in near-peer adversary, so being able to come out here to train and develop those partnership and relationships is going to be vital to our future of global security, allied security and security of the homeland.”

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