Defense

May 30, 2014

Airmen help their Norwegian partners train

Tags:
Capt. Brian Maguire
Stavanger, Norway

SSgt. Jennifer Thaxton dangles from a Royal Norwegian air force helicopter during an exercise May 13, 2014, in the North Sea. Thaxton and three other Airmen from the 426th Air Base Squadron volunteered to support training and certification efforts of the RNAF 330th Rescue Squadron. Thaxton is the 426th ABS custodian of postal effects.

Airmen from the 426th Air Base Squadron recently participated in training alongside rescue crews from the Royal Norwegian air force’s 330th Rescue Squadron, May 13.

Four Airmen volunteered to serve as stranded seafarers in the frigid North Sea, so the Norwegian aircrew could maintain qualifications and other local naval units could exercise rescue and survival operations.

“This exercise was premised off mutual respect and trust in our partnership,” said Maj. Kevin Catron, the 426th ABS Staff Judge Advocate. “Norway remains a very close ally to the United States and anything that we can do to further that bond and cement that relationship is an important mission of the 426th ABS.”

Airmen with the 426th ABS have worked to develop strong ties with local military units, so it was no surprise to be offered such a unique training opportunity, Catron said.

“The 426th ABS tries to build rapport and collaborate with the local Norwegian military units,” Catron said. “This particular unit, the 330th Rescue Squadron, offered up a training opportunity for those of us willing to assist in the effort.”

The exercise involved orientation and mission briefings, followed by a ride out to the raft in the North Sea. The helicopter lowered the Airmen into the emergency life raft, and then made several practice runs to shore.

“It was pretty awesome, because from where I was standing inside the door, I couldn’t see the raft below the helicopter,” said Capt. Morgan Cowle, the 426th ABS director of operations. “It was like taking a leap of faith, holding on to the harness, being lowered into a raft that I couldn’t see.”

Even though the weather was calm, the Norwegians had a couple surprises to simulate stormy conditions, Catron said.

From left, TSgt. Tim Carlsrud, Maj. Kevin Catron, SSgt. Jennifer Thaxton and Capt. Morgan Cowle pose in front of a Royal Norwegian air force Mk43B Sea King in their dry suits before being ferried out to an emergency life raft for a training exercise May 13, 2014, in the North Sea. The four Airmen are all from the 426th Air Base Squadron at Stavanger, Norway.

“The downdraft from the helicopter was kicking up the water and making things pretty turbulent, but there were also two boats racing around the raft as part of the training to create large waves and spray more water over raft to simulate stormy seas,” Catron added. “It was awesome. I swear they laughed every time they buzzed our raft.”

Even though they knew it was just an exercise, the Airmen still experienced the same raw emotions anyone can have while stranded on the ocean.

“Traditionally, they will use Navy personnel who are familiar with the process and, as the pilot put it, ‘cheat by helping the engineer.'” Catron said. “With us, they saw the panic, fear and hesitation they will experience by hoisting civilians from an emergency life raft in a real life situation.”

Each of the Airmen said they enjoyed the exercise and are ready to volunteer again. Even though it was an exciting experience, the Airmen also valued seeing NATO partners in action.

“The interaction we have with our Norwegian Air Force counterparts gives us valuable insight into the similarities between us and allows us to experience each other’s cultures,” Cowle said. “Working on a NATO base, we are exposed to many different nations’ military services every day, but being able to interact and train with the Norwegian Air Force in their own element is an altogether different, and awesome, experience.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>