SWIDWIN AIR BASE, Poland — Anakonda 2016 is a U.S.- and Polish-led international exercise that seeks to train, exercise and integrate their national command and force structures with allied nations to form a multinational working environment.
The exercise ended on a high note after the U.S. Air Force and Army coordinated the first live airdrop by U.S. aircraft in Poland since World War II.
The exercise allowed Airmen to demonstrate their abilities as well as maintain their readiness.
“For the tactical air control party and weather staff, it was extremely important to participate in a live-exercise environment with our partners,” said Col. Eric Chapital, 4th Air Support Operations Group commander. “If we aren’t able to come out here and do our job then catastrophes may occur in a combat situation.”
According to Chapital, the airdrop was a fitting end to Anakonda 2016. The exercise included over 25,000 service members from participating nations, and although the weather was not ideal throughout, conditions provided a valuable training opportunity for the weather Airmen and those training alongside them.
“Their job is to integrate into the mission-planning and mission-execution cycles to help the commanders exploit favorable weather and mitigate poor weather,” said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Dawson, 7th Weather Squadron and 7th Expeditionary Weather Squadron commander. “Without exception, their support was lauded, and my Airmen were especially praised for how well they were plugged in and integrated with their Army units.”
Dozens of weather Airmen played a role in the exercise, and according to Dawson, the feedback he got from them and their leaders displayed the value such an exercise has in the development of their career fields.
“At one evening battle-update brief, no less than five brigade commanders singled out their weather teams during their portion of the brief for exceptional performance. That’s huge,” Dawson said.
The objectives met throughout the exercise included completing multinational air assault, air defense and bridging operations.
The 4th ASOG and its partners demonstrated the Air Force’s ability to integrate with allies to ensure operational safety and mission readiness.