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."