February 2, 2018 (by SSgt. John Hillier) - The Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing hosted members of partner military forces for joint training flights over the United States at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, January 31 – February 2, 2018.
RCAF CC-130J-30 #130617 taxies at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joesph, on February 1, 2018 after a training flight for the Treaty on Open Skies. Personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and the Czech Republic participated in the flight designed to promote international cooperation and transparency. [ANG photo by TSgt. John Hillier]
The flights were in accordance with the Treaty on Open Skies, a multi-national arms control treaty designed to build confidence and security among participating nations.
Under the terms of the agreement, each State Party is allowed to conduct a specified number of flights over the various parties' territories. The training flights were conducted on a Canadian CC-130J, a military aircraft similar to the U.S. C-130J Super Hercules, based at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Canada.
Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice greeted delegations from the treaty partners and was proud to showcase Guard Airmen's capabilities in supporting the flight.
"It's the first time the Air National Guard has been at the table being an active part of something significantly bigger than ourselves in the DOD," said Rice. "It's a great opportunity for us to show our professionalism and pride, to show our exceptional facilities and our ability to add value to something very important to our country: the safety, security and stability of how we operate in the world."
Col. Edward Black, 139th Airlift Wing commander, said his Airmen were proud to be taking part in fulfilling America's treaty obligations, and for the opportunity to show off their city.
"The 139th Airlift Wing is honored to be part of the Open Skies Treaty," said Black. "Our role as host to the treaty nations further confirms our unit's commitment to building partnerships. We thank our civic leaders for their support, and look forward to this opportunity to bring more visitors to St. Joseph."
The Treaty on Open Skies was ratified by the United States in 1992 and went into effect on January 1, 2002. Since that time, the agreement has grown to cover 34 nations which have conducted more than 1350 flights under its auspices.