US leads the way during Flying Rhino

Courtesy of Defense Media Activity

More than 3,000 troops, including 22 U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Parties and forward air controllers from 10 different countries, began gathering May 3 in the Czech Republic for Flying Rhino 2010. Flying Rhino ends today.

This was the first time students from the U.S. Air Ground Operations School on Ramstein participated in the Czech-British exercise, which is now in it its eighth year. It also marks the first time the U.S. led the classroom instruction element of the training.

The exercise is a multinational, multi-service training event that allowed Soldiers and Airmen an opportunity to polish their joint duties, work through communication barriers and solidify their interoperability in preparation for eased working relations in operational environments such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I find it very very important that we take advantage of every opportunity to train with the countries that provide the students,” said Lt. Col. Allen Roberts, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Ground Operations School commander. “In these large
exercises that take place in Europe, we always want to take advantage of them whenever we possibly can.”

Over the course of three weeks, participants received classroom instruction from U.S. Air Force TACPs on how to operate communication field equipment and the importance of Joint Fire Observer integration. Troops learn different techniques from the TACPs in the classroom and then take what they’ve learned and apply it in the field.

“Having those jets up in the air, you call the bombs in, bomb hits the target, big explosion, everyone is happy,” said Senior Airman Justin Fuchs, an AGOS TACP student, about his job.

British FAC Nick Williams said he thinks training with the different forces is very beneficial.

“Personally, I think it is very important because of what we found out in OEF and ISAF missions such as Afghanistan,” he said. “We are working together more and more, so it’s a good time for integration at an early stage.”

“Our hosts here in the Czech Republic along with the British have been nothing but hospitable to us,” Colonel Roberts said. “The training we’re receiving in the different locations has been absolutely phenomenal. We definitely appreciate it because it gives reality to the training and provides synergy among all the nations that we not only train, but that we work with downrange.”

Other participating countries included Germany, Italy, Denmark, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.  The home base for the exercise was the 22nd Air Base at Namest nad Oslavou.