Military News

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

U.S., Israel Defense Forces conduct combined training

by Tech. Sgt. Patrick Mitchell
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs


6/2/2015 - NEVATIM, Israel -- More than 350 U.S. service members participated in two-week Exercise Noble Shirley 2015 in Israel. The exercise was a routine training exercise designed to promote cooperation and interoperability between the U.S. Forces and Israel Defense Force. The main objective was to allow U.S. Forces to work alongside their IDF counterparts, train together, exchange ideas and share experiences in order to improve mutual understanding and increase ability to respond to crises together.

U.S. European Command has a long-standing relationship with Israel and regularly participates in bilateral exercises to improve collaboration and understanding between the two nations. NS 15 involved U.S. service members from all four branches of the military working hand-in-hand with their IDF counter parts.

"The training difference was challenging, but it was a great opportunity to learn other ways to train, and perform tactics, technic and procedures," said Capt. Kevin Beyer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 173rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion Airborne ground force commander.

The HHC 173rd BSTB Airborne soldiers also completed a 1,100ft. combat equipment jump during the exercise.

"The jump was special because we had an Israeli jump master on board so we were able to earn Israeli jump wings," said Specialist Christopher Jester, HHC 173rd BSTB Airborne combat medic.

The 37th Airlift Squadron out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany also played a major role in NS 15. Aircrews from the 37th AS transported soldiers to the drop zones in C-130J Super Hercules'. The crews also completed night flights which consisted of low level flying, max effort assault zone landings, container delivery system drops and the use of night vision goggles.

"This exercise gave us the ability to practice in austere landing condition in a controlled environment," said Capt. Joe Eastman, 37th AS C-130J pilot.

With all the moving parts to an exercise this massive no wonder it was over a year in the making.

"Israel is a near peer in capability all the way down to the type of aircraft, and we planned NS 15 for over a year to achieve this two-week exercise," said Mr. Dave Watson, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces-Africa exercise lead planner. "It's great to see it all come together."

The U.S. is committed to working together with other nations with similar national security and regional stability goals to bolster cooperation, friendship and understanding to address potential challenges in the region. The Noble Shirley exercise series began in 1992, and U.S. Forces and the IDF have already begun working together to plan the next exercise in the series to take place in 2017.

"I appreciated this unique opportunity to integrate and collaborate with our training, and for the extensive cross talks," Beyer said. "This training paves the way for future collaborations."

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