by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
3/23/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- A
theater security package comprised of A-10C Thunderbolt IIs and Airmen
from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.,
arrived at the Liberty Wing March 13 to train with NATO allies in new
environments and cultures.
"Working with our NATO allies helps strengthen the bonds between us, and
demonstrates the U.S. commitment to them," said Senior Master Sgt.
Nathan Kerr, TSP maintenance superintendent.
The pilots and maintenance crews from the 355th FW took part in unique
training opportunities, and shared their training and knowledge with
Liberty Airmen during their five-day visit.
Maj. Ben Rudolphi, TSP detachment commander, explained that the pilots
trained on several different missions, to include: low altitude tactical
navigation, dissimilar air combat maneuvering, helicopter escort, basic
surface attack and U.K. joint terminal attack controller coordination.
As Airmen stationed in Arizona, they noted the particular challenges of working with the English weather.
"We've gotten to see firsthand what conditions and limitations other
maintainers work through on a daily basis, and that has given us the
experience to be able to do likewise," Kerr said.
"The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilots have spent most of
their lifetime in the Barry Goldwater Ranges, [Arizona], with good
weather conditions," Rudolphi said. "Coming to Europe has tested their
close-air-support abilities while working in unfamiliar airspace with
foreign controllers and less-than-ideal weather. Overall, they will be
more confident and capable pilots."
Before their visit to RAF Lakenheath, the A-10s were training out of
Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, with both U.S. and German Air Forces. The
Liberty Wing is just one stop of many. The 355th FW Airmen will
continue to train with NATO allies across Europe, advancing their combat
readiness while training in varying conditions and cultures.
"It's been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun," Kerr said. "We have to
integrate all of our allies' rules and regulations into our daily
routines, and make the mission happen. There have been lots of learning
opportunities, and we look forward to even more challenges as we
continue on with our mission."