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Jolly Vihar 23 "The Deuce"
by U.S. Air Force Airman Synsere Howard
July 7, 2023

The U.S. Air Force 56th Rescue Squadron and the 56th Rescue Generation Squadron assigned to Aviano Air Base, participated in the bilateral training exercise Jolly Vihar 23-2 at Pápa Air Base, Hungary June 26 through July 7, 2023.

Exercise Jolly Vihar is aimed to enhance the U.S. and Hungarian forces’ ability to conduct integrated combat search and rescue scenarios and perform maintenance operations. This exercise benefits the 56th RQS and 56th RGS along with NATO Ally and partner nations by enhancing interoperability, while learning each other’s techniques, strategies and procedures.

“The purpose of exercise Jolly Vihar for the 56th Rescue Squadron is terminal employment,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kayleigh Jones, 56th RQS special missions aviator instructor. “This is a great time for aircrew to practice factor threat analysis because we never know what squadron or unit we're going to be working with. The more we integrate the better we can facilitate personnel recovery across Europe.”

Three U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawks flew to Pápa Air Base for exercise Jolly Vihar. During the two-week exercise, a large portion of the training was live fire and search and rescue missions. Airman assigned to Aviano Air Base and Pápa Air Base act as red cells during the search and rescue missions. Red cells are role players whose purpose is to present problems that the aircrew must solve as a team.

June 28, 2023 - A U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th Rescue Generation Squadron from Aviano Air Base lands to pick up survivors during exercise Jolly Vihar at a training range near Pápa Air Base, Hungary. The 56th Rescue Squadron provides a rapidly deployable, worldwide combat rescue and reaction force response. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Synsere Howard.)
June 28, 2023 - A U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th Rescue Generation Squadron from Aviano Air Base lands to pick up survivors during exercise Jolly Vihar at a training range near Pápa Air Base, Hungary. The 56th Rescue Squadron provides a rapidly deployable, worldwide combat rescue and reaction force response. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Synsere Howard.)

Norwegian forces were on each aircraft fulfilling the role of a pararescue team, helping to mitigate threats and safely recover red cells with information relayed to them and the aircrew. According to Jones, working with the Norwegian forces improves their cohesion with the knowledge learned from one another, this can also be applied to real-world situations.

“We're out here working with NATO Allies and partner nations such as the Norwegians and the Hungarians,” said Jones. “We’re working on interoperability and learning their techniques and procedures while sharing ours with them.”

There were various agencies involved for the purpose of creating the most realistic training environment.

According to Jones, there are a lot of moving pieces in an exercise of this magnitude. The mission cannot be accomplished without other agencies, such as maintenance personnel, aviation resource managers, communications technicians and aircrew flight equipment specialists.

“These personnel are essential to making sure this exercise is executed safely and efficiently,” said Jones.

Jolly Vihar aims to advance and support rescue capability in European Command and NATO. Training with NATO Allies and partners in exercises like Jolly Vihar strengthens partnerships, reduces tensions between nations and helps address potential conflicts before they start.

“We're trying to build this network to increase our partner building capabilities,” said Jones. “We can’t do this alone.”

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Minor editing without impacting facts.

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