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 April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>