RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The Ohio Air National Guard's 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, completed numerous multinational missions Sept. 13-28 during Silver Arrow 2019, increasing capabilities, readiness, lethality and interoperability.
Interoperability is the ability of multiple military organizations to come together and communicate effectively to complete an operation quickly. It is especially important in a global setting with multinational partners.
"Silver Arrow is designed for Guard and Reserve to participate as a force multiplier in the United States European Command (EUCOM) in regards to exercises, missions and regular training in the international community, as well as building relationships with our partners," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael McDonald, detachment superintendent for Silver Arrow at Ramstein Air Base.
In a simulated exercise, the 179th and the 86th Air Medical Evacuation Squadron transported patients to and from aircraft and provided in-flight patient care traveling from Ramstein Air Base to Naval Station Rota, Spain.
"Exercises like these are extremely beneficial for both the 164th and 86th by not only giving each other the opportunity to train on our skills, but to also increase interoperability, globally through this mission," said Col. Darren Hamilton, 164th Operations Group commander, assigned to the 179th Airlift Wing.
Shortly after their first mission to Spain, members of the 179th flew to Lleida to display a C-130 in Festa al Cel, Spain's longest-running air show. During the two-day show, thousands of people toured the aircraft and talked to the aircrew.
Members also participated in an air show in Bosnia and conducted ground training with the Bosnians, forming vital relationships internationally with military counterparts.
While at Ramstein the 179th participated in Saber Junction 19 (SJ19), including total forces interoperability training with some 5,000 military members from partner and allied nations, U.S. active components, U.S. Reserves and National Guard units.
SJ19 is an exercise conducted by the 7th Army Training Command (7ATC) and directed by U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR). It is designed to assess the readiness of the Army 173rd Airborne Brigade to conduct unified land operations with NATO allies and partners.
The 179th provided airlift support with personnel and heavy equipment drops, as well as air attack operations.
"This was a great learning exercise for our personnel, as well as a great opportunity to form international relationships and increase our interoperability with all involved," said Lt. Col. Pete Tesner, 179th Airlift Wing's director of operations for Silver Arrow.
"The missions we're flying here are directly tied to our Air Force readiness and posture of being able to take the mission forward, and interacting with our active-duty counterparts here at Ramstein as well as our joint partners across EUCOM," said Tesner. "We're inter-flying with local Air Forces here, supporting missions out of Aviano, Italy. This truly is a joint endeavor, which is the core of the C-130 mission, inter-theater tactical airlift."