U.S., Thai airmen and soldiers partner, jump for freedom

UDON THANI, Thai­land (AFNS) — More than 240 Thai and U.S. air­men and sol­diers took part in a per­son­nel drop over Lop Buri, Thai­land to close out this year’s Cope Tiger 2012 mul­ti­lat­er­al air exer­cise between the U.S., Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore which was held here March 12 through 23.

 -
Roy­al Thai air force and Army mil­i­tary free fall per­son­nel ready para­chutes at Don Mueang Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, Thai­land pri­or to board­ing a C‑17 Globe­mas­ter III, Mar. 22. The air­men and sol­diers par­tic­i­pat­ed in the exercise’s largest bilat­er­al free­dom jump to close out Cope Tiger, a two-week long mul­ti-lat­er­al, large force air employ­ment exer­cise. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Capt David Hern­don)
Click to enlarge

Coined by com­bined exer­cise lead­er­ship as the largest Cope Tiger bi-lat­er­al free­dom jump in its 18-year his­to­ry, the mis­sion aimed to improve U.S. and Roy­al Thai Air Force abil­i­ties to inter-oper­ate.

“For me, this was good rela­tion­ship build­ing between the U.S. and Thai­land,” said Roy­al Thai Air Force Lt. Nawaphansa Yugala, mil­i­tary free fall para­chutist. “I felt very pre­pared to work with U.S. air­crews today and though I have a lot of train­ing, it was very ben­e­fi­cial to all of us to jump out of the C‑17.”

The jump per­son­nel were trans­port­ed by two U.S. Air Force C‑17 Globe­mas­ter III air­crews from Joint Base Pearl Har­bor-Hick­am, Hawaii and Joint Base Elmen­dorf-Richard­son, Alas­ka, and by two C‑130 Her­cules air­crews from Yoko­ta Air Base, Japan.

“This was an inter­na­tion­al ver­sion of our Joint Oper­a­tional Access Exer­cise that proved that we can accom­plish our mis­sion when con­front­ed with tac­ti­cal chal­lenges that nat­u­ral­ly arise with dif­fer­ent users and oper­at­ing envi­ron­ments,” said Maj. Joseph Mona­co, Cope Tiger Free­dom Jump mis­sion com­man­der. “We also exer­cised inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with the Roy­al Thai Air Force and Roy­al Thai Army by employ­ing our low and high-alti­tude per­son­nel air­drop mis­sions as a com­pos­ite C‑17 and C‑130 aer­i­al deliv­ery pack­age.”

The mobil­i­ty Air­men were staged out of Udon Thani Roy­al Thai Air Base Base, Thai­land, and read­ied the trans­port air­craft for sta­t­ic line and high alti­tude-low open­ing pro­ce­dures. Accord­ing to Capt. Michael Reck­er, Cope Tiger C‑17 oper­a­tions project offi­cer, par­tic­i­pants learned a great deal from the day-long mis­sion.

“This was a very unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for our U.S. and Thai air­men and sol­diers,” said Reck­er, cur­rent­ly assigned to the 535th Air­lift Squadron, at JB Hick­am. “We don’t get to drop actu­al per­son­nel as often, espe­cial­ly in such large num­bers, and doing so with our Thai part­ners was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence.”

Reck­er explained that plan­ning for the free­dom jump began in Sep­tem­ber 2011 at the exercise’s ini­tial plan­ning con­fer­ence.

“The C‑130 project offi­cer, myself, and our Thai coun­ter­parts deter­mined that a joint per­son­nel drop was what we want­ed to strive for,” said Reck­er. “We built on that plan at the final plan­ning con­fer­ence and a detailed exe­cu­tion plan start­ed about 3 weeks out and the build of that was com­plet­ed dur­ing the three days pre­ced­ing the drop.”

Exer­cise Cope Tiger aims to enhance readi­ness and combined/joint inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between U.S. Forces, allies and part­ners with­in the Asia-Pacif­ic region. Reck­er con­tin­ued that U.S. and Thai air­men and sol­diers learned valu­able lessons through the plan­ning and exe­cu­tion of the jump, ulti­mate­ly demon­strat­ing capa­bil­i­ties and resolve to sup­port future chal­lenges in the region.

“This was def­i­nite­ly a con­fi­dence builder as well as deeply sat­is­fy­ing in that we suc­cess­ful­ly accom­plished the mis­sion,” said the cap­tain. “I feel like our rela­tion­ship and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with the Roy­al Thai Air Force and Roy­al Thai Army is now stronger, and I’m excit­ed about build­ing on that in the future.”

Cope Tiger is an annu­al, mul­ti­lat­er­al joint and com­bined field train­ing exer­cise that takes place Korat and Udon Thani Roy­al Thai Air Force Bases. This year more than 1,900 air­men and civil­ians par­tic­i­pat­ed in the exer­cise, includ­ing approx­i­mate­ly 430 U.S. ser­vice mem­bers.

“This was the ulti­mate train­ing envi­ron­ment to prac­tice the exe­cu­tion of a com­plex sce­nario with mul­ti­ple weapon sys­tems, users, and meth­ods of aer­i­al deliv­ery,” said Mona­co. “Our tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures can be employed with dif­fer­ent nations and users with astound­ing suc­cess.”

The exer­cise includ­ed a total of 92 air­craft and 34 air defense units, includ­ing U.S. plat­forms such as the C‑130 Her­cules, A‑10 Thun­der­bolt II, C‑17 Globe­mas­ter III, and F‑15 Eagle.

Cope Tiger exer­cise sce­nar­ios con­clud­ed Mar. 23 and rede­ploy­ment of per­son­nel and air­craft con­tin­ue this week.

Source:
U.S. Air Force

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →