Canadian airmen work, train with Air Force through military exchange program
By Airman 1st Class Keoni Chavarria, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 15, 2015
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Throughout history, countries have relied on each other and their militaries to succeed, and with one program, service members from separate nations are able to work together to learn more about another nation's military.
The military exchange program gives a service member in the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force an opportunity to work for the other nation for three years at a time to learn their systems and methods.
The intent of the program is to create a better understanding and cooperation between allied militaries to provide a better functioning relationship.
"It's a little bit of camaraderie, but a lot of it is work exposure to different military environments, and functions, and bringing that knowledge back to your own military," said Royal RCAF Capt. Trevor Lanoue, a 10th Airlift Squadron pilot.
Throughout the program, service members learn skills that they normally wouldn’t be taught.
"The program has been really advantageous to see some of the things the U.S. does that Canada doesn't, such as air refueling. It was a skill set that I learned when I came down here," Lanoue said.
The exchange does not come without complications though. For the most part, Lanoue works with the 10th AS but still coordinates his tasks with his original squadron.
"An area of limitation we have is when we have short-notice alerts because it is a quick-notice, short-reaction situation," Lanoue said.
For RCAF Sgt. Wes Ramsay, 8th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, adapting to the new changes was also a milestone.
"Adapting to a new environment, a new culture and a new language was challenging," Ramsay said.
Once a year, the participants fill out a yearly report to tell their leadership what they are doing and their thoughts on the program.
"The program has been a very eye opening experience," Ramsay said.
According to Ramsay, compared to the qualifications and systems to fly for the U.S. Air Force, those of the RCAF are more simplistic.
"Historically, there have been a lot of joint operations between Canada and the U.S., so I think the program has served a lot of value by having an opportunity to cooperate and work closely together," Lanoue said.
According to Lanoue and Ramsay, working with U.S. Airmen and learning more about each other's military culture has been a beneficial experience.
"One thing I could definitely take back home is the professionalism and the education that they push to the Airmen here," Ramsay said.