by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan
U.S. Air Force pararescuemen assigned to the 57th Rescue
Squadron and HH-60G Pave Hawks and crew assigned to the 56th RQS,
both from Aviano Air Base, Italy, alongside Royal Marines Commando
Mobile Air Operations team with Commando Helicopter Force performed
joint NATO training with the 53rd Commando Battalion Romanian
special forces in March 2022.
By combining knowledge and
experience from two NATO partners, the teams worked together to
teach proper helicopter landing zone procedures to Romanian special
“It's beneficial for them to know because it could
be one of those friction points in an operation,” said 1st Lt.
Alexander Mount, 57th RQS combat rescue officer. “They're going to
operate on the ground and have an air component to it, so working
out the friction points of landing, offloading a helicopter, moving
around on an area that has spinning rotor blades and heavy machinery
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Alexander Mount, 57th Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer, center, speaks with the 51st Commando Battalion Romanian special forces in Romania, March, 9, 2022. Mount assisted the Royal Marines Commando Mobile Air Operations team in teaching safe operations for loading and unloading an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th RQS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan)
They were also briefed on how to communicate
landing hazards the helicopter might encounter on approach. Romanian
special forces would then practice running to the helicopter for
extraction and offloading techniques.
“They were practicing
getting on and off the helicopter as well as talking to us over the
radio to call us in for extraction if they needed it.” said Capt.
Cassie McPeek, 56th RQS lead aircraft co-pilot.
The 56th RQS
and the 57th RQS work directly with NATO partners to establish
better connections and a solid foundation.
“It's a pretty
uncertain time right now,” said Lt. Col. Adam Hawkins, 56th RQS
director of operations. “If ever there's a time to have a NATO
alliance solid and together, it's right now. What we are doing is a
direct interaction with our partners as close as we can get.
The NATO alliance allows the cumulative knowledge of other
forces to be freely shared, opening the door to different
experiences and learning opportunities.
The 51st Commando Battalion Romanian Special Forces offload an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron in Romania, March 9, 2022. The 57th RQS and the 56th RQS alongside the Royal Marines Commando Mobile Air Operations team with Commando Helicopter Force provided training on how to safely operate around a helicopter to the 51st Commando Battalion Romanian Special Forces. (U.S. Air Force
photo by Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan)
“It just shows how
interoperable we are with our NATO partners,” said Mount. “And how
some of the experiences can be shared, we have slightly different
experiences than the British forces do and different from the
Romanians. To be able to integrate all of that together is
McPeek explains how great it is to see three
different NATO countries working together to streamline processes,
understand different techniques and share experiences for others to
learn. Along with that, McPeek expressed how important it is to have
a solid foundation in our own tactics and techniques but to also be
open minded and communicate in order to get the job done.
was really cool to get to integrate with NATO partners,” said McPeek.
“Being able to see all that we do with our NATO partners
translate up, where even if we’re in a major conflict and we have to
do it in the heat of the moment we're going to make it work,” said
Mount. “Because even in the simple moments we can make it work”
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