U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to Ramstein returned home after weeks of contingency training during exercise Agile Spirit 21 in the country of Georgia.
Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing supported Agile Spirit 2021, a joint, multinational exercise co-led by the Georgian Defense Forces and U.S. Army Europe and Africa, from July 26 through Aug. 6.
This was the first time the 86th AW participated in Agile Spirit, providing aerial port services, aerial assets, aircraft maintenance and supplemental joint terminal attack controller capabilities.
The 37th Airlift Squadron was responsible for providing tactical airlift capabilities for the exercise, flying over 211 hours and 70 sorties.
“Agile Spirit was an exercise meant to help promote regional stability and build our partnership capacity and interoperability with our U.S. Army partners here, the Georgian military and the other 15 nations participating in the exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Frizzell, 37th AS Agile Spirit mission commander.
The 37th AS worked with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany, to perform personnel and equipment airborne drops.
“We worked with the U.S. Army to facilitate operations objectives and provide aerial assets for their ground forces training and maneuvers,” Frizzell said. “We dropped approximately 34 bundles, four heavy equipment platforms and provided the means for over 348 personnel airdrops.”
During the exercise, the 37 AS’s loadmasters also played a key role in ensuring mission objectives were met. They were able to move approximately 422,000 pounds of cargo with the help of the Georgian military and U.S. Army personnel.
“Working with the Georgians has been a good experience,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alexander Carlson, 37th AS loadmaster. “It’s been a unique dynamic and an ever-evolving process. We learned how to work with one another and accomplish our training objectives. It’s been a lot of new beginnings for us and the Georgians.”
Georgia is a strategic partner to U.S. and NATO Forces in Europe. Agile Spirit 21 gave participating nations the ability to exercise setting the theater, to plan, prepare and execute joint and multinational training in a real-time, realistic setting throughout the European theater.
There were many firsts and tangible successes for everyone that played a role in Agile Spirit 21.
“One big success for us was being able to launch 7 U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in order to drop heavy equipment and personnel into a simulated contested environment out here in Georgian airspace,” Frizzell said. We were able to demonstrate our maintenance capabilities, operational capabilities and highlight and generate our combat power from the air to the ground by being able to insert that force into a combat zone and do it effectively, efficiently and on time.”
Exercise Agile Spirit 21 allowed allies and partners to connect personally, professionally, technically and tactically to create stronger, more capable forces during times of crisis. Strong relationships deter potential adversaries.
“The partnership we are building here provides a foundation for future operations,” Frizzell said. “This exercise allows us to take each other’s strengths and apply them to ourselves and builds a foundation for real-world instances, whether it be humanitarian, mutual support or combat.”
Throughout the weeks of the exercise, U.S. military personnel were able to live, work and socialize with their Georgian counterparts, creating a sense of comradery and mutual respect.
“It’s been great working with our Georgian partners,” Frizzell said. We’ve been able to learn from them as well as help provide them with our operating capabilities and show what combat air-power looks like from Ramstein. The team out here has absolutely knocked it out of the park and we thank the Georgians for their support.”
Agile Spirit 21 enhanced U.S., Georgian, allied and partner forces’ lethality, interoperability and readiness in a realistic training environment. Approximately, 2,500 military personnel from 15 allied and partner nations participated in this theater security cooperation exercise. Agile Spirit occurred at three training locations in Georgia — Senaki Air Base, Vaziani and Orpholo Training Areas.