Military News

Thursday, June 04, 2015

3rd AF commander visits Sweden, speaks with Airmen

by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


6/4/2015 - KALLAX AIR BASE, Sweden -- Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander visited Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing participating in Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015 here, June 1.

"We have a hugely valuable range space here," said Roberson. "We are able to bring nine countries together, operate from three different locations and put an air war [exercise] together with over 100 aircraft."

During the visit, Roberson was briefed on operations by Col. Klute Erdstrom, Norbotten wing commander, observed mission takeoffs, recognized Airmen for their superior performance and spoke about the importance of ACE 15.

"The importance of these partners coming together is to ensure we can operate jointly down the road," said Roberson. "The efforts of these countries during these two weeks are significant because it shows everyone what our combined capabilities are."

Roberson also discussed how the uniqueness of this type of exercise, in which more than 115 combat aircraft from different nations are flying together in 180,000 square kilometers of airspace, enhances the interoperability amongst Partners for Peace and NATO allies.

"One of the biggest advantages with ACE 15 is the airspace," added Roberson. "We have the largest training space for us to operate in the European theater. Here we have been able to set up our communication systems and network to share data amongst all the aircraft in the three countries the exercise is operating from: Norway, Finland and Sweden."

Participation in an exercise of this magnitude requires teamwork not only amongst U.S. Airmen but also between the other nations. Roberson highlighted and recognized the Airmen whose efforts contribute to interoperability, readiness enhancement and the building of U.S., allied and partner's collective defense through this training.

"Our Airmen here are doing extremely well," said Roberson. "It has been very positive from both sides, with nothing but help from our Swedish partners. It takes a whole team to make this happen. All of the interaction, understanding and building of relationships will pay big dividends for us if we have to work together in the future."

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