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Training builds stronger Air Force, allies

Soldiers perform final checks on their parachutes prior to entering a C-130J Super Hercules as part of this year’s annual Swift Response training exercise June 15, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Swift Response is a joint and multination exercise designed to train U.S. and NATO forces for global response. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Soldiers perform final checks on their parachutes prior to entering a C-130J Super Hercules as part of this year’s annual Swift Response training exercise June 15, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Swift Response is a joint and multination exercise designed to train U.S. and NATO forces for global response. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Soldiers enter a C-130J Super Hercules as part of this year’s annual Swift Response training exercise June 7, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Soldiers from 10 NATO countries jumped from U.S. aircraft as part of exercise Swift Response. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Soldiers enter a C-130J Super Hercules as part of this year’s annual Swift Response training exercise June 7, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Soldiers from 10 NATO countries jumped from U.S. aircraft as part of exercise Swift Response. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

As quickly as is it began, exercise Swift Response 2016 came to a conclusion after a total of 163 airlifts and airdrops were completed by squadrons from throughout the U.S. Air Force and NATO allies June 18, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The joint, multinational exercise brought together 10 NATO allies to train to rapidly respond to a world crisis within 18 hours.

“Overall the exercise went well,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Walter Palumbo, 86th Operations Support Squadron pilot. “From a planning stand point, we learned about the importance of drop zone selection in order to ensure first-pass success. During execution, we also learned several lessons about large formation management.”

Lessons learned from Swift Response won’t stay in Germany. Aircrew from many units, including the Air National Guard in St. Joseph, Missouri, came from across the Atlantic to participate.

“This is an exercise, but it could easily be real world,” said Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Riley Coat, 139th Airlift Wing loadmaster. “It gives us a chance to see where our strengths and opportunities are. We don’t do a whole lot of personnel drops at home station, so it’s good for us to get this experience, especially with formation flying. ”

Swift Response is an annual U.S.-led exercise. While the number of aircraft and military members participating may fluctuate from year to year, the message of partnership never does.

“It’s different than being on a flightline in the United Kingdom,” said U.K. army Pvt. Joe Reid, 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment paratrooper. “There are a lot more aircraft. It’s great to see everyone’s capabilities. It makes you feel confident that if anything happens, we’re ready.”

 With the last airdrops completed, Ramstein’s flightline began to clear, but as quickly as aircraft and aircrew headed back home, exercises like Swift Response help assure they can return in a moment’s notice when a crisis hits.