Military News

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Reservists train with JTAC and Latvian military

by Capt. Denise Haeussler
442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/1/2015 - Adazi Range, Latvia -- While looking out over what was once a Russian tank training field, allied service members now see a place to train together.

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron from Oklahoma City, Okla., and the Combat Readiness Training Center from Alpena, Mich., both Air National Guard units, trained with the Latvian Military Infantry on French Hill at the Adazi Range in Latvia Aug. 24. All units worked with two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 442d Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., using close air support.

The training is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve where the U.S. military is training with NATO allies.

"We are simulating being out in the field under attack where close air support is needed," said Master Sgt. Edgar Rodriguez, a JTAC from the 146th ASOS. "We also practice being on the offensive with CAS, such as scoping out an enemy location and using CAS to help the ground troops."

Rodriguez says everyone benefits from the training because it gives all involved a chance to see each other's perspective. The Latvian military is able to learn from the JTACs while the JTACs understand what the Latvians are training for.

"We train at home and go to the fight," said Rodriguez. "For the Latvians, their biggest threat is military combat operations and the fight is in their backyard.  This is not something we would normally see at our home."

After the JTAC ground troops trained in a few scenarios with the Latvians, CAS was called in and the A-10s came screaming overhead dropping flares.

"This is a great experience for the Latvian military because we can train with the A-10s which are the best in CAS," said Sgt. Juris Simanis of the Latvian military. "We like having them on our range because training with them helps us improve our skills and standard operating procedures. We don't have our own attack aircraft and it's always a great experience to work with U.S. forces."

Rodrigues said the JTAC's will continue to work with the Latvian military while using the A-10s s for the duration of OAR as they continue the partnership and relationship with NATO allies.

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