435th AGOW succeeds at ‘Big Week’

by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Courtesy photosMaster Sgt. Albert Black, 435th Contingency Response Group air adviser, instructs a Latvian fuels team on a fuels system icing inhibitor at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia. The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing’s Air Adviser Branch executed five missions at once, the most it has ever done in one week, Sept. 15 to 19 in three NATO countries.
Courtesy photos
Master Sgt. Albert Black, 435th Contingency Response Group air adviser, instructs a Latvian fuels team on a fuels system icing inhibitor at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia. The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing’s Air Adviser Branch executed five missions at once, the most it has ever done in one week, Sept. 15 to 19 in three NATO countries.

The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing’s Air Adviser Branch recently succeeded in accomplishing five missions at once — the most ever done in one week.

During the week of Sept. 15 to 19, the air advisers from the 435th visited three NATO countries to learn and develop from each other. These five missions will also serve as a stepping stone for future operations and partnership development.

“For this upcoming fiscal year we have already picked up our second Air Force Security Assistance Training mission in October,” said Master Sgt. Simon Merfeld, 435th Contingency Response Group’s Air Adviser Branch superintendent. “There is a potential for growth in the number of events we pick up for AFSAT, and we are hoping to become a routine service provider. The Air Adviser Branch represents a significant cost savings option for AFSAT in that is allows them to use the resources already stationed here in Europe.”


Master Sgt. Albert Black, 435th Contingency Response Group air adviser, discusses water detection in fuels with a Latvian navy  lieutenant commander at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia.
Master Sgt. Albert Black, 435th Contingency Response Group air adviser, discusses water detection in fuels with a Latvian navy lieutenant commander at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia.

While the influx of missions presented a challenge, the AGOW Airmen overcame the difficulties presented to them to support the U.S. Air Force’s air policing missions in the Baltic region as well as assist in building relationships around Europe.

“Having so many personnel on the road at one time does present challenges both at the office and in ensuring accountability of our personnel,” said Maj. John Sherinian, 435th CRG’s chief air adviser. “However we maintain communications and mitigate threats to our advisers through preparation and coordination with OSI and security forces. I am personally excited about participating in the ‘Big Week’ to highlight our capabilities and show how our air advisers are ‘Ready, Forward, Now’ to the Air Force’s needs.”

Due to the success of accomplishing so many missions in one week, the Air Adviser Branch will use its gained knowledge to ease and improve future operations.

“The real challenge comes in the planning and ability to de-conflict dates that tend to be fluid,” Merfeld said. “We love what we are doing, though. All of our air advisers have been trained for these missions and are excited to have to the opportunity to execute the building partnership mission for U.S. Air Forces in Europe.”