OTOPENI AIR BASE, Romania --
U.S. and Romanian military members concluded a two-week bilateral training exercise on Otopeni Air Base, Romania, Aug. 31, 2017.
Carpathian Fall 2017 involved participation from more than 100 Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, along with paratroopers from the U.S. Army and Romania military. The exercise also saw participation from Romanian Air Force pilots who served as observers.
The goal of Carpathian Fall 2017 was 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, 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 came from a wide range of Air Force 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. 37th AS C-130J Super Hercules pilots 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, 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 the Airmen from Ramstein, adding that the 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.
As the U.S. troops packed up and prepared to return to Ramstein, Morton added that there was one more challenge to face. He said this challenge comes up at the end of every bilateral exercise: saying goodbye.
“We had an awesome time here in Romania,” he said. “The Romanians 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.”