September 2, 2017 (by A1C Joshua Magbanua) - U.S. and Romanian military members concluded a two-week bilateral training exercise on Otopeni Air Base, Romania, August 31, 2017.
C-130J pilots from the 37th AS, (right and center), along with one Romanian Air Force pilot, walk back to their units after conducting a training flight at Otopeni AB, Romania on August 29, 2017. The 37th AS regularly conducts field training deployments throughout Europe to help strengthen partnerships with NATO allies. [USAF photo by A1C Joshua Magbanua]
Carpathian Fall 2017 involved participation from more than 100 Airmen from Ramstein AB, Germany, along with paratroopers from the U.S. Army and Romanian military. The exercise also saw participation from Romanian Air Force pilots who served as observers.
The goal of Carpathian Fall 2017 was to enhance mission readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and Romanian military. An example of the partnership displayed during the exercise was the airlift of Romanian paratroopers on U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Romanian Air Force aircraft also airdropped cargo delivery systems which were built by U.S. Air Force aerial delivery Airmen.
"Every exercise provides its own challenges," said Capt. Jacob Morton, the 37th Airlift Squadron mission planning cell chief. "Some challenges can be anticipated, but sometimes the things you least expect can be the things which challenge you the most. The benefit of those challenges is that we find these things out now, rather than during combat."
Morton served as the mission commander for Carpathian Fall 2017. He emphasized the importance of bilateral training, saying no country should take on a mission alone.
"Ever since the dawn of warfare, alliances have been crucial to victory," Morton said. "This principle still applies today. We succeed in missions not only through the courage of our own warfighters, but also through our bonds with our allies. We fly, fight, and win together."
Participants from Ramstein AB came from a wide range of career fields, including aircrew, weather, logistics, operations support, weather and intelligence.
Besides conducting airdrops, pilots also practiced various in-flight maneuvers in the skies above Romania. C-130J Super Hercules pilots from the 37th AS conducted evasive flight maneuvers, tactical low-level flying, flare dispenses and assault landings. These flights were conducted with Romanian Air Force pilots observing in the cockpit.
Maj. Corey Preston, a 37th AS C-130J instructor pilot, said he was happy with how the exercise went, and expressed his pride in the participants.
"Carpathian Fall 2017 was an amazing success due to hard work and dedication of all Airmen involved," Preston said. "We had amazing support from numerous agencies from the 86th Airlift Wing, and every Airman that was deployed in support of Carpathian Fall played an integral part in the success of the deployment, so first and foremost I'd like to congratulate and thank the team."
Preston also expressed his gratitude for the Romanian troops who hosted Airmen from Ramstein AB, adding that Romanians contributed greatly to Carpathian Fall 2017.
"We also had outstanding support from our Romanian counterparts, and fostered key relationships that are essential to building partnership capacity and interoperability between our two air forces," he added. "(They) were wonderful hosts, and we will truly miss the people and the country when we leave. All of us will have stories to tell our folks when we get back home. We hope to come back again soon and continue building our alliance with the people of Romania."