Military News

Friday, June 12, 2015

Airman trains Turkish firefighters during Anatolian Eagle

by Tech. Sgt. Eric Burks
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/12/2015 - KONYA, Turkey -- When Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Hill, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron station chief, responds to an in-flight emergency at his home station, he's never the only U.S. Air Force firefighter on duty.

But during temporary duty assignments at forward operating bases with no permanent Air Force presence, such a scenario could feasibly happen.

For this reason, Hill said, it's important to ensure host-nation counterparts have a basic understanding of our aircraft recovery procedures, to protect equipment and keep both pilots and responders as safe as possible.

At Anatolian Eagle 15, hosted at the 3rd Main Jet Base here, Hill is one of about 250 personnel from the 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, participating in the training exercise ... and the only firefighter.

"After I arrived last week, I met with several Turkish Air Force firefighters my second day here," Hill said. "We did some training to cover the basics of our aircraft recovery procedures, things they would need to look for following an in-flight emergency."

The basic procedures are similar, he said, but some details vary from one airframe to the next.

"They have F-16s, F-4s, and choppers," Hill said. "During Anatolian Eagle, there are a lot of aircraft on the ramp they don't otherwise see on a daily basis."

To supplement the training session, Hill facilitated a proficiency exercise with four Turkish Air Force firefighters June 11.

"They did really great, and performed exactly the way I taught them," Hill said. "It provides self-assurance that if they needed to come out and respond, they know how to recover the aircraft as safely as possible."

Lt. Col. John Stratton, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, said exercises like Anatolian Eagle ensure his squadron --- the Grim Reapers -- can remain forward, ready, now.

"It's important for the U.S. to participate so that we can really get a better understanding of the capabilities and the operations of our partner nations," he said, "so that we know what they can contribute and how we can come together as a team to execute the mission that we're asked to do."

Hill said it was a very positive experience working with his Turkish Air Force counterparts.

"They have good vehicles, facilities, and training here," he said. "They really mirror a lot of what we do."

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