Joint airlift brings Stolen Cerberus V to a close

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Devin M. Rumbaugh
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Exercise Stolen Cerberus V concluded with approximately 100 Airmen deploying back to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from Elefsis Air Base, Greece.

The 12-day exercise involved members of the 86th Airlift Wing, 435th Contingency Response Group, and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 5th Quartermaster Company, providing support and training opportunities to Hellenic air force and army personnel.

“We got to interfly with the Hellenic air force, which gave us the opportunity for us to train them and for them to see how we operate,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan Pritchard, exercise Stolen Cerberus V deputy mission commander.

The U.S. Air Force successfully airlifted and dropped 251 jumpers, 25 high velocity cargo delivery system drops, and 16 heavy equipment drops during the exercise.

“We were able to provide airlift to them that they do not have easily accessible at all times,” said Pritchard. “They are very limited on resources, so when we come down, we open up a lot of doors for them.”

Along with being able to provide resources for training, the 37th Airlift Squadron Joint Airdrop Inspectors exchanged inspection expertise with the Hellenic army riggers.

“They actually use the same rigging manuals that we use,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Toni Odom, 37th Airlift Squadron Joint Airdrop Inspector. “Since they also rig for C-130s, they use our publications for rigging.”

Joint Airdrop Inspectors work directly with riggers to ensure cargo is up to code before the cargo is taken to the aircraft, and before the cargo is received by the aircraft’s loadmaster.

“I think that it’s different for me as JAI versus the pilots that speak with them maybe 1 or 2 hours day,” said Odom. “I’m over there with them from sun up to sun down. I think that was the purpose of the exercise. For us to learn from them.”

The JAIs weren’t the only members working with the Hellenic army riggers.
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 5th Quartermaster Company worked with the Hellenic army riggers who built the bundles that were dropped out of the aircraft.

“We absolutely increased our partnerships and interoperability,” said Pritchard. “I think that was evident when we flew a three ship formation involving two U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules, and one Hellenic air force C-130H Hercules. We dropped Greek equipment, a U.S. Humvee that was rigged by the Greeks, followed by Greek personnel jumping out of a U.S. aircraft.

Through the Stolen Cerberus relationship, the U.S. and Hellenic air force demonstrated a shared commitment to a peaceful, stable and secure European theater.

“The fact that we were able to do all these different things just shows that our interoperability has increased exponentially during this Stolen Cerberus exercise,” said Pritchard. “We have definitely built a stronger relationship with the Hellenic air force and army.”