435th AGOW Air Advisors build partnerships through Lithuanian fuels event

  • Published
  • By Capt. Lou Burton
  • 435th Air Ground Operations Wing Public Affairs

Air Advisors form the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing developed and executed a hot pit refueling familiarization event or the Lithuanian Air Force in Siauliai, Lithuania, July 17-21, 2023.

The familiarization event focused on showcasing how to accomplish hot pit refueling, while simultaneously checking equipment synchronization to determine compatibility for real word operations.

“There can be a tendency for people to operate in their own bubble,” said Tech Sgt. Erik Silva, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor instructor. “But when we facilitate these familiarization events, it opens dialogue and opportunities for developing interoperability with other countries like we are doing here in Lithuania. This helps increase interoperability with the host nation and visiting partner nations.”

The program incorporated an F-16 from the Portuguese air force, who were locally performing real world missions. Collaborating with the flying mission allowed the Air Advisors to blend both classroom instruction with hands on equipment handling during the familiarization event.

Silva evaluated Staff Sgt. Rickey Cline, 435th CRSS air advisor, as he coordinated the planning and execution of the program. Additionally, the air advisors sourced the assistance of Tech. Sgt. Michael Lindmark, maintenance training instructor with the 52nd Maintenance Group, to lead the classroom instruction.

“This was my first time working with the air advisors on one of their missions,” said Lindmark. “The experience has been great because I now have a greater awareness of how we strengthen partnerships with our NATO Allies. Not only have we been able to provide training for them, but we are learning different ways on how they operate, which increases our ability to work together.”

The familiarization event for hot pit refueling helped bridge understanding of allied forces capabilities and identify critical information for future partnership opportunities.

“This event gave us an opportunity to exchange knowledge and assess what capabilities we can develop for the future,” said First Class Sergeant (OR6) Vyautas Jurevicius, Lithuanian Air Force Chief of Ground support unit. “This is my first time working with the U.S. Air Force air advisors, but I look forward to other opportunities to work with them and our international partners.”

During the visit to Lithuanian Air Base, the team made stops to other offices to connect with other teams they have been working with to track progress on past events, along with coordinating future events that could be beneficial for the partners.

A U.S. Air Force air advisor is an Airman specially trained and educated to apply aviation expertise to assess, train, advise, assist and equip foreign personnel in developing and applying aviation resources to meet the host nation's needs in support of U.S. interests.