War on Terrorism

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

U.S., Danish Air Forces make history with joint airdrop mission

by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2013 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- The U.S. and Danish Air Forces made history when the two nations came together for an airdrop over the skies of Southern Afghanistan Feb. 25.

While airdrop missions have been going on from the beginning of operations in Afghanistan, this mission marked the first that U.S. and Danish aircraft flew together to drop supplies.

"It's awesome that we finally got to do this with the Danish," said Maj. Marcus Lewis, 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. "We didn't want to get overly excited because we tried to do this two times, but both missions were cancelled."

Lewis explained how the joint mission made perfect sense since both the U.S. and Danish Air Forces are taught and trained in the joint coalition atmosphere.

"Since I began pilot training in 1995, I've always been around and trained with the Danes," Lewis said. "We established these relationships long ago, so when we flew this mission it only felt natural. I thought it was flawless."

The Danish aircrew also felt the mission was a success and the "icing on the cake" in terms of their deployment coming to an end, said Lt. Col. Claus Caspersen, Danish Air Force pilot.

"We have done the airdrops, but this one was the best because we got to do it together before we leave soon," Caspersen said. "We go to the U.S. two times a year for training so this was easy. It's smooth when we work together because we both know what to expect from each other."

Maj. Daniel Hilferty, 771nd EAS Tactics chief, noted how the familiarity of working together builds strong ties.

"It's important to build strong coalition relationships because it translates to increased trust on the battlefield," Hilferty said. "Coalition training develops a mutual respect for each other's knowledge and capability, enabling us to execute combat missions with greater confidence."

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