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Mission success at Stolen Cerberus VIII

Plane on ramp

A 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules aircraft sits on a ramp during Operation Stolen Cerberus VIII at Elefsis Air Base, Greece, May 18, 2021. Operation Stolen Cerberus is a two-week exercise aimed at providing Hellenic armed forces and U.S. military members the opportunity to standardize their efforts in a bi-lateral training environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew J. Alvarado)

RAMSTEIN AIR FORCE BASE, Germany --

Operation Stolen Cerberus VIII, a bi-lateral training event between Hellenic armed forces and U.S. military members, concluded on May 23, 2021.

The successful two-week training featured multiple events, which included low-level defensive flying maneuvers, cargo air-drops, combat offloads for cargo pallets, attempted mid-flight interception simulations and emergency medical evacuations.

“Through this exercise, we demonstrate to our allies that we are here for them,” said Maj. Jonathan Klenk, 37th Airlift Squadron Stolen Cerberus VIII detachment commander, “We’re here to train with them, learn from them and to teach them. So that we can all become better. We can all become stronger when we’re unified.”

The training scenarios often included the 31st Search and Rescue Squadron, a unit from the Hellenic air force who participated alongside the 57th Rescue Squadron from Aviano Air Base, Italy, and the 435th Contingency Response Group from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Through a series of multiple integration opportunities, a shared commitment to building cohesion between European allies and expanding partner capacity was achieved. Adjusting despite COVID-19 required precautionary measures such as the wearing of masks and tests conducted at various intervals.

“By continuing these operations through COVID, we show that we can operate in any situation,'' said Capt. Samuel Mckinley, 37th Airlift Squadron central scheduler and Stolen Cerberus VIII mission planning cell chief. “We show our ability to be agile in any situation and continue those combat training operations.”

Each day, personnel from the 37th AS manned three C130J Super Hercules from Ramstein for rapid deployment and varied mission sets. Additionally, the 86th Maintenance Squadron consistently handled a variety of duties including inspection requirements, configurations monitoring, and refueling operations to ensure the aircraft were in working order.

Despite the heavy task load, Airmen from Ramstein found significant value in continuous mission success. One Airman shared advice for anyone considering next year’s opportunity to participate.

“Be ready to work hard, but Greece is beautiful,” said Airman 1st Class Anthony DeLancey-Winters, 86th  MXS crew chief. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”