Representatives of the French air force visited with Airmen at the 37th Airlift Squadron for a presentation on aircraft features and capabilities after recently purchasing several of their own C-130J Super Hercules and KC-130 Hercules April 28 on Ramstein.
Pilots, loadmasters and crew chiefs from the 37th AS conducted a question-and-answer session for French members about cargo procedures followed by a tour of the aircraft.
“The French military originally purchased the aircraft in January but will receive them in in 2017,” said Capt. Joseph Eastman, 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules aircraft commander.
“They came so that when they receive the C-130Js, they can perform their mission right away,” Eastman said. “There will be a year-and-a-half buffer between the purchase and delivery to get all of their training and questions answered, so that when they pick up the keys to the aircraft everything is good to go.”
According to Eastman, training like this is crucial in upholding the NATO alliance and maintaining interoperability.
“We’re working every day with different nations, whether it’s in Africa working together on regular missions or the (flying training deployments) we have in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria,” Eastman explained. “The better that we can work with one another and the better we can teach our allies or help them with new technology, the better we can perform our missions.”
Eastman also said that the partnership yields mutual benefits in the lessons Airmen receive about French aircraft that they do not get to regularly operate.
Pierre Yves, a French military contractor, agreed that the meeting was beneficial in building relationships between the two armed forces.
“It has been a good time working with the (U.S.) Air Force. I’m hoping to (conduct) future interactions with the U.S. military,” Yves said. “They’ve been very helpful on allowing me to inspect the C-130s, which are in great condition.”
Partnerships and advancement like this are just one way U.S. Airmen leave an impact within the European theater.