Building camaraderie at every altitude
Story by SrA Malcolm Mayfield on 08/11/2019
Dozens of figures dot the sky, swifty descending into the golden Romanian fields as the aircraft that deployed them circles above, preparing for another airdrop in support of Carpathian Summer 19.
Carpathian Summer is a two-week long exercise that helps maintain joint readiness, build interoperability and strengthen U.S. relations with Romania.
“Interoperability is one of the biggest things we and the Romanians are gaining from this experience,” said Maj. Kari Morris, 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron dropzone control officer. “Just knowing how each air force works gives everyone involved the opportunity to compare and develop their procedures so they can work better together in the future.”
During the bilateral training exercise, techniques, tactics and procedures were shared between U.S. and Romanian forces. Low-level tactical mountain flying and airdrops were some of the skills practiced.
“It has been an outstanding experience being able to exchange TTPs with our partners,” said Master Sgt. Christian Fountain, 412th Operations Support Squadron parachute test program SERE instructor, Edwards Air Force Base, California. “We’ve learned a ton from them and we hope they’ve gotten the same from us.”
As part of the training, a Romanian air force C-130 and a U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules assigned to the 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, practiced simultaneous airdrops with Romanian paratroopers.
“The fact that they can fly in formation and do a formation airdrop is pretty impressive,” said Morris. “There’s a tremendous amount of coordination that goes into pulling off something like this, especially as well as they did. It was an impressive drop.”
Both in the air and barreling toward the ground, U.S. and Romanian forces took every opportunity to train and strengthen their relationship.
“Exercises like this are important to solidify our partnerships throughout the world,” said Fountain. “This is my fourth time doing this, and it’s always great to get out and work with partner nations. Being able to share that experience in the sky – it transcends language barriers.”