HAW, Ramstein team up for training

by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the Heavy Airlift Wing at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, and Ramstein personnel came together Monday to Thursday for aerial port training, which was conducted near Ramstein and Grafenwöhr, Germany.

The training consisted of two personnel airdrop flights and two heavy equipment airdrops. This was the first time the HAW has done a heavy equipment drop.

“It (was) our first heavy equipment drop and I am very proud to be part of this organization and contribute my expertise to the mission,” said Maj. Brian Nicosia, Heavy Airlift Squadron chief of wing weapon and tactics flight. “I am very excited to see this portion of our mission grow.”

Though the HAWs mission capabilities have expanded since the wing stood up in 2008, it has developed strong partnerships in a short time by doing training missions with members from Ramstein.

“The HAW does not currently do a lot of training with Team Ramstein, but we definitely hope to in the future,” said Maj. Daniel Lang, Heavy Airlift Squadron director of operations. “The airdrop resources available at Ramstein are invaluable for two reasons: they bridge a gap in aerial port and aerial delivery capability we have here as we start operations in Hungary by providing equipment and personnel that do not exist at Pápa Air Base.”

Major Lang also noted how Ramstein acts as a mentor for the unit on how to coordinate logistical support and project combat and humanitarian airdrops.

“The 86th Operations Support Squadron aerial port and aerial delivery, along with the joint airdrop inspection team, are the best in the world at what they do and are a perfect role model for our unit as we build airdrop capability,” he said.

Though building relationships during these kinds of training missions is important, working with different bases has different areas of unique capabilities, Major Nicosia said.

“While we don’t have all our equipment and processes in place right now, we will be able to share those with Ramstein when they come online,” he said. “Also, we hope to host some C-130s from Ramstein this summer so they can conduct night tactical missions they would not be able to do at home station.”

These types of training missions are also important for their international C-17 Globemaster III aircrews to maintain the airdrop proficiency to provide the 12-nation strategic airlift capability with the worldwide airdrop ability the C-17 can provide.

The HAW will have a crew of about 13 personnel while the 86th Airlift Wing will support the training flights. The 435th Contingency Response Group and 67th Forward Surgical Team will be jumping for the personnel drops.

Aside from fostering new partnerships, the training allowed the participants to stay current and qualified on airdrop procedures.

“This is a continuation of a great airdrop relationship forming between the HAW and Ramstein,” Major Lang said. “I believe I am at a historic start of a very important relationship between the two bases.”