Military News

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NATO partners break the ice, builds partnerships

by Andrea Jenkins
23rd Wing Public Affairs

10/13/2015 - AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia  -- Nearly 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron gathered with Estonian and German air force members during an icebreaker event at Amari Air Base, Estonia, Oct. 1, 2015.

Hosted by Estonian air force leadership, the icebreaker event was designed to bring the deployed Airmen together with the NATO allies they will spend the next several months working alongside to build relationships and further develop interoperability.

"The event is a great way to start to the deployment," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Gully, 74th EFS first sergeant. "I think it will help not only our Airmen, but our NATO partners, get to know each other. This event let us meet the allies whom we'll be working alongside during this deployment, start building more effective relationships and camaraderie and increase interoperability."

U.S. Air Force and Estonian air force leadership agree the benefits of events like these are endless and build relationships.

"The importance of an event like this is for people to get to know each other," said Chief Master Sgt. Janis Jallai, Estonian air force command chief. "Estonians are shy people but events like these allow us to loosen up and get talking more."

The event allowed the NATO allies a chance to take a break from work and interact with each other in an informal setting.

"Usually we are sitting in one corner sitting quietly around ourselves and this icebreaker is an opportunity to interact with you guys and get to know your culture better than what we are used to," said Estonian air force Maj. Hardi Lammergas, air surveillance wing commander. "It's a great opportunity that (allows us) to get to know each other as allies."

"We are such close allies," added Lammergas. "It is a great opportunity for (the U.S. Airmen) to get to come over here, get to know the Estonian people and our culture. It's one thing to study things on paper and another thing to come and meet face-to-face with each other, see the landscape and work closely together."

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