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USAF, Canadian forces partner for unique training

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Eales, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inspects a C-130J engine as Tech. Sgt. Sam Bishop, 19th AMXS, checks the technical orders after error codes showed a malfunction April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Eales, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inspects a C-130J engine as Tech. Sgt. Sam Bishop, 19th AMXS, checks the technical orders after error codes showed a malfunction April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tyler Wilson, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmaster, watches for wing distance safety as the C-130J taxied into position to load Canadian light infantry April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.  
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tyler Wilson, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmaster, watches for wing distance safety as the C-130J taxied into position to load Canadian light infantry April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Maxey, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmaster, inspects his helmet as part of his preflight checklists April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.  
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Maxey, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmaster, inspects his helmet as part of his preflight checklists April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The 41st Airlift Squadron participated in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus with Royal Canadian air forces and this is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Tart , left, and 1st Lt. Alex Randall, 41st Airlift Squadron pilots, fly in formation with a Canadian C-130J in the Canadian Rockies executing low altitude high terrain evasion maneuvers during the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Tart , left, and 1st Lt. Alex Randall, 41st Airlift Squadron pilots, fly in formation with a Canadian C-130J in the Canadian Rockies executing low altitude high terrain evasion maneuvers during the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Tart, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot, steps to his C-130J in preparation for the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Edmonton, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Tart, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot, steps to his C-130J in preparation for the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Edmonton, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

Royal Canadian air force pilot Capt. Daniel Ebisuzaki briefs 41st and 61st Airlift Squadron pilots on that days mission and routes as part of canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus April 21, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

Royal Canadian air force pilot Capt. Daniel Ebisuzaki briefs 41st and 61st Airlift Squadron pilots on that days mission and routes as part of canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus April 21, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Alex Randall, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot, looks out over a frozen lake in the Canadian Rockies during the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Alex Randall, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot, looks out over a frozen lake in the Canadian Rockies during the first Fanatic Pegasus exercise mission with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

A Royal Canadian air force C-130J flys in formation with a U.S. Air Force C-130J from the 41st Airlift Squadron through the Canadian Rockies demonstrating low altitude high terrain evasion techniques April 20, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. This is the first time American forces have participated in the Canadian Fanatic Pegasus exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.  
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

A Royal Canadian air force C-130J flys in formation with a U.S. Air Force C-130J from the 41st Airlift Squadron through the Canadian Rockies demonstrating low altitude high terrain evasion techniques April 20, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. This is the first time American forces have participated in the Canadian Fanatic Pegasus exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Maxey (right) and Airman 1st Class Tyler Wilson, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmasters, watch out of the back of their C-130J after a simulated cargo drop while navigating through the Canadian Rockies during the Fanatic Pegasus exercise with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Maxey (right) and Airman 1st Class Tyler Wilson, 41st Airlift Squadron Loadmasters, watch out of the back of their C-130J after a simulated cargo drop while navigating through the Canadian Rockies during the Fanatic Pegasus exercise with Royal Canadian air forces in Alberta, Canada, April 20, 2017. This is the first time American forces have participated in this exercise which establishes air and ground forces in unfamiliar terrain to work on communication and rapid deployment of those resources. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

Canadian Army Private Joshua Lafountain, 3rd Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, gets fitted into his parachute and gear before boarding a 41st Airlift Squadron C-130J April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The exercise Fanatic Pegasus focused on enhancing mobility partnerships between the U.S. and Canada in all aspects of Combat Airlift.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)
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Canadian Army Private Joshua Lafountain, 3rd Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, gets fitted into his parachute and gear before boarding a 41st Airlift Squadron C-130J April 22, 2017 in Alberta, Canada. The exercise Fanatic Pegasus focused on enhancing mobility partnerships between the U.S. and Canada in all aspects of Combat Airlift. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

The 41st Airlift Squadron loaded up with crews from the 61st Airlift Squadron, the 34th Combat Training Squadron, maintainers and equipment into two C-130J’s for a week of training in Edmonton, Canada.

The Royal Canadian Air Force, along with the 3rd Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, teamed up with the 19th Airlift Wing to participate in Canadian exercise Fanatic Pegasus which offered unique opportunities with our international partners and access to mountainous terrain and weather not found in Arkansas.

“The goal of participating in Fanatic Pegasus was to validate and build U.S. and Canada tactical airlift interoperability,” said Capt. Michael Sadler, 41st Airlift Squadron Director of Staff. “The expeditionary scenario was put in place to better prepare our forces for future combined operations.”

Little Rock Air Force Base squadrons routinely support operations all over the world. Participating in another countries exercise allowed the crews to have a whole new perspective in Combat Airlift.

“Even though we fly the same aircraft, there are a multitude of ways to employ this weapon system, and it was an incredible chance to see how our joint partners utilize the C-130J,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Randall, 41st Airlift Squadron C-130J Pilot. “They have experience pushing this weapon system to its limit in an environment we don't get see too often. Flying together through the mountains while practicing airdrops was challenging, but rewarding; it cultivated a sense of confidence and respect in each country's abilities, and the unique capabilities each of us can bring to the fight.”

The Canadians offered many unique challenges that expanded each of the 19th Airlift Wing’s crews skill set.  

“Each country has its own set of tactics, techniques and procedures,” Sadler said. “This exercise provided us with a unique opportunity to incorporate each other's methods of employing the C-130J.  Additionally, it facilitated an opportunity to improve our interoperability with our Canadian partners, allowing us to evaluate and possibly incorporate each other’s methods in future operations.”

Despite challenges such as language barriers, weather delays and mission execution differences, the training was a success.

“Initial difficulties included the pre-mission communication, such as approval of a Foreign Jumper waiver which required Air Mobility Command’s approval,” Sadler said. “We needed to work through a training plan with the RCAF to ensure each unit was getting the most out of the exercise and we were all on the same page.”

As the training continued through the week, all personnel involved gained a better understanding of each other’s mission effectiveness.

“You can't brief too much on the ground,” Randall said. “We found that while much of the terminology we used was the same, the execution varied slightly. The flights led to a great discussion of ideas and concepts that we can use to streamline interoperability in the future.”

The discussions that occurred throughout these unique exercises became invaluable and continuing to maintain a working rapport with Canadian forces is crucial to the success of future combined operations.

The aircrews performed low-level tactical flying, transported equipment and personnel while also navigating the Canadian Rockies.

“These opportunities can be rare,” Sadler said. “We need to ensure we’re taking advantage of and getting the most out of each event that allows us to interoperate with one of our strongest allies.”