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Canadian integration: Expanding Combat Airlift

  • Published
  • By Airman Rhett Isbell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 41st Airlift Squadron along with Airmen from the 61st Airlift Squadron and the 19th Airlift Wing joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at Trenton Air Force Base in Ontario, Canada for two-weeks of cold weather pre-deployment training.

The RCAF and members of Team Little Rock, which included four aircraft and 72 personnel, built tactical airlift and enhanced their mission readiness in an expeditionary scenario to better prepare for future combined operations around the globe.

“We approached this exercise differently than any other that I’ve seen before,” said Lt. Col. Bret Echard, 41st AS commander. “We requested members of different squadrons to come with us to give them some extra training and to train with the same team members we’re going to deploy with.”

Having early integration as a priority for deployments didn’t stop at taking extra team members with them. The 41st AS also offered Little Rock Airmen the opportunity to integrate with Royal Canadian Air Force Airmen, while keeping up a free flow of information between the two countries armed forces.

“It was great to work with the Canadians and everyone involved got something out of this trip,” said Staff Sgt. Josh Daigle, 19th Operations Support Squadron instructor loadmaster. “Everything they did looked a little different compared to ours, so we had to make sure we communicated effectively to accomplish the mission.”

Loadmasters trained to accomplish distinctive learning objectives and complete the ones they had set out to be certified on. Some of those were reverse taxi, low speed and low altitude air drops and oversized, heavyweight cargo.

This training simulated Team Little Rock operating in a dynamic environment in friendly, but foreign soil.

“A lot of us learned how to be more flexible in our flying and how to avoid obstacles or dangers to a greater degree,” Echard said. “We’ve still got a ton to learn from the Canadians and we should do these training missions more often.”

Going north opened the door to a new theater of operations for training while building relationships across the continent.

“They were a great host and I’d really like to work with them again,” Daigle said.