Two C-17 Globemaster IIIs and 70 airmen from the U.S. Air Force participated in the Royal New Zealand Air Forceâ€™s Exercise Kiwi Flag from March 26 through April 4 at RNZAF Base Whenuapa, New Zealand.
Exercise Kiwi Flag is a multilateral, tactical air mobility exercise that aims to improve the interoperability and partnership of the participating nations.
U.S. Air Force airmen worked alongside Royal Australian Air Force, New Caledonia French Defense Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force and RNZAF counterparts as well as a KC-130 Hercules crew from the U.S. Marine Corps. During the exercise, they conducted combined flight operations to include aircraft mission generation and recovery, low-level navigation and tactical airdrops.
The exercise was part of the larger 75th anniversary of the RNZAF celebrations.
â€œThe U.S. is honored to participate in the 75th anniversary celebration of the Royal New Zealand Air Force,â€ said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jay Belmear, the U.S. exercise director for Kiwi Flag. â€œThrough exercises such as Kiwi Flag, the U.S. is able to develop and expand combined airlift capabilities with regional partners, enhancing our relationship as well as our ability to respond to any variety of events throughout the region should the need arise.â€
The New Zealand terrain offers unique training opportunities for aircrew, allowing them to hone low-level navigation skills under the watchful eye of the New Zealand hosts.
â€œHosting aircrew and personnel from the U.S. Air Force as well as our other regional partners is thrilling for us,â€ said Squadron Leader Andy Scott, the RNZAF exercise director. â€œWe are excited to get to showcase some of the distinctive opportunities that come with flying in our country whilst getting to learn from our partners about how they conduct every aspect of the flying mission from planning to debriefing.â€
In addition to the airlift missions, personnel exchanged best practices and tactics during subject matter expert exchanges in aeromedical evacuation, aircraft maintenance and parachute jumps.