TUDM BUTTERWORTH, Malaysia (AFNS) — After completing more than 140 sorties and several hundred flying hours, the U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force concluded exercise Cope Taufan 2012 at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base here, April 13.
The Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, live-flying exercise, that included F-15 Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and four different airframes from the RMAF, allowed U.S. and Royal Malaysian air force pilots to hone their skills in dissimilar basic fighter maneuvers, combat search and rescue, and dissimilar air combat tactics for the first time.
„(Cope Taufan is) an important (military to military) engagement that binds our two countries together,“ said Lee McClenny, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, who made his first visit here since assuming his current position in August 2011. „Your extreme hospitality and friendship furthers our long-term relationship and enhances our ability to work together,“ he said during the closing ceremony.
Royal Malaysian Col. Suri bin Daud, the Cope Taufan 2012 exercise director, said the RMAF hopes to increase the scale of activities and training for future exercises.
„All the planning of activities are a means to an end,“ he said. „That end is the mutual understanding between our countries and our air forces. How we focus on our missions and how we support each other strengthens our mutual bonds.“
Hours before the closing ceremony, RMAF and USAF members traveled back to an orphanage in Kulim where one week earlier the combined team mixed and poured concrete for a multi-use sports court, which will be used for volleyball, badminton or a taditional Malaysian game, sepak takraw, and other sports.
The orphanage, in northwestern Malaysia, currently houses 50 children ranging in age from 10 to 17 years old. The children are all orphans of former Malaysian armed forces members.
U.S. Air Force Airmen representing the 67th FS and 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, who were honored guests at a dedication ceremony for the new court, also got a chance to give gifts to the children, including two water cooling systems, various sports equipment and toys.
„We had such a fun time while you were here,“ Nurhafiza Husna Binti Halim, a resident of the orphanage, said during the ceremony. „All of your kindness will be treasured close to our hearts.“
U.S. Air Force