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NEWS | June 17, 2022

167th Airlift Wing Supports Multinational Exercises in Europe

By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle, 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft crew, maintainers and air transportation specialists supported multinational exercises in Europe in May.

The annual Swift Response and Defender Europe 22 exercises increase the preparedness and interoperability of U.S. and NATO allies and partners.

The 167th provided rapid global mobility of 518 personnel and 383 tons of cargo for Maryland’s 175th Wing and for the Colorado Army National Guard, flying 40 sorties across the Baltic and Balkan regions.

As part of Defender Europe 22, the 167th’s C-17 transported a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System to Denmark to perform a rapid infiltration exercise. With aircraft engines running, the HIMARS was off-loaded, simulated a fire strike and then reloaded for a quick departure.

The 167th also supported the 104th Fighter Squadron of the 175th Wing, transporting equipment and Airmen to arm and refuel the unit’s A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes as they exercised their Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concepts.

“Our main role there was to support the A-10s, so we bounced around from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, North Macedonia,” said Capt. Trebor Taylor, 167th Airlift Squadron C-17 aircraft pilot. “With ACE in mind, we’d go to a location, they’d do a mission out of there and then we’d pack them up and move to the next location to keep the rotation flowing.”

As part of an Integrated Combat Turn event, the C-17 crew flew five legs in one day, with engine-running operations at each location to support the A-10 mission.

“We started an hour late due to issues outside of our control, but we ended an hour early and met the specified times at each location, which is critical to the A-10’s mission,” Taylor said. “The [loadmasters] really knocked it out of the park that day.”

Taylor said the crew executed flights for the exercise with perfect timing except for two minor setbacks, despite flying into unfamiliar airfields, some with limited ground support.

“That’s an important takeaway from this exercise. We supported the A-10s, but now we also understand the constraints of some of these airfields for the next time we use them,” Taylor said.