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123rd Airlift Wing supports interoperability with exercise Immediate Response

Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conduct a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. Combined training enables partners to readily respond more effectively to regional crises and meet their own national defense goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conducts a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conduct a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. Combined training enables allies and partners to readily respond more effectively to regional crises and meet their own national defense goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conduct a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

Senior Airman Sawyer Ezzell, a crew chief for the 123rd Maintenance Group, 123rd Airlift Wing, services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on May 15, 2019, as part of Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multinational team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Senior Airman Sawyer Ezzell, a 123rd Maintenance Group, 123rd Airlift Wing, crew chief, services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 15, 2019, as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multinational team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Senior Airman Sawyer Ezzell, a crew chief for the 123rd Maintenance Group, 123rd Airlift Wing, services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on May 15, 2019, as part of Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multi-national team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton), services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on May 15, 2019, as part of Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multinational team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Senior Airman Sawyer Ezzell, a 123rd Maintenance Group, 123rd Airlift Wing, crew chief, services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 15, 2019, as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multi-national team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conduct a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. Combined training enables allies and partners to readily respond more effectively to regional crises and meet their own national defense goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conduct a nonstandard-load training flight in the airspace above Venice, Italy, May 20, 2019, while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft lands at Aviano Air Base, Italy, on May 20, 2019, after conducting a nonstandard-load training flight while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. Combined training enables partners to readily respond more effectively to regional crises and meet their own national defense goals. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft lands at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 20, 2019, after conducting a nonstandard-load training flight while carrying equipment from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as part of exercise Immediate Response 2019. The exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability among participating allied and partner nations integrated into a multinational battalion. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Horton)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) --

More than 90 Airmen and three C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing participated in Immediate Response 2019, a multinational exercise co-led by Croatian Armed Forces, Slovenian Armed Forces and U.S. Army Europe, at Aviano Air Base, May 9-22.

The purpose of the annual exercise is to build multinational readiness, enhance military-to-military relationships and improve interoperability between land forces to provide mutual assurance, deter regional aggression and support a balanced approach to security and stability in the Balkan region.

Maj. Trevor Sutherland, the 123rd AW’s air mission commander, said the exercise provided invaluable experience working with multiple partners.

“It validates all of our strategic plans,” said Sutherland, a pilot in the wing’s 165th Airlift Squadron. “You have our people interfacing with the Army and all these different agencies, and they were very impressed with the way our unit leaned forward.”

The exercise included approximately 6,000 participants from 15 nations including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition to improving relationships and interoperability with allies and partners, the exercise also provided a good training opportunity for newer Airmen, said Master Sgt. Hunter Hurd, a 123rd Maintenance Group flightline production controller and production superintendent for the mission.

“I think this was an excellent training experience; it really shows the younger folks why they went to school for as long as they did and why they worked those long hours,” Hurd said. “They can see the fruits of their labor in the sorties that the aircrews are flying.”

Airman Tanner Soward, a new 123rd Operations Group aviation resource management Airman, agreed.

“It was great being able to work with other units and countries,” Soward said. “I learned a lot about doing my job without using the systems that we have back home.”

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