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510th Returns
Capt. Corydon Jerch, 510th Fighter Squadron pilot, exits his aircraft after returning to Aviano Air Base, Italy after a training mission in Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, Mar. 27, 2013. The purpose of the training was to build coalition partnerships with NATO allies and accomplish critical flight training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz)
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Aviano Airmen train with Spanish counterparts

Posted 4/1/2013   Updated 4/1/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Michael Battles
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

4/1/2013 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- More than 250 Airmen and 14 F-16 Fighting Falcons from Aviano Air Base returned from a training mission to Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, March 27.

The purpose of the training was to build coalition partnerships with NATO allies and accomplish critical flight training.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Thompson, 510th FS commander, the training was necessary due to range and airspace limitations around Aviano.

"Participating in the training is the most effective way to fully understand the capabilities and limitations that each participating coalition and NATO nation brings to any future operations," Thompson said.

While in Spain, the 510th FS completed air-to-air training mission against Spanish F-18 Hornets and EF-2000 Eurofighters and performed air-to-ground missions such as basic surface attacks, close air support and large force employment.

"The training allows the pilots to employ full scale heavyweight training munitions, as well as fly against different airframes, which helps expand the corporate combat knowledge of the squadron," said Capt. Seth Taylor, 510th FS project officer. "Spain is a NATO partner, so any chance we get to fly with them allows us to improve our interoperability and capabilities and shows commitment to our NATO partners."

During the training, the 510th not only worked alongside Spanish pilots from the 15th Wing at Zaragoza, but also with pilots from the Spanish Major Command and F-18 pilots from the 46th Wing in the Canary Islands.

"Our Spanish hosts have been extremely accommodating and this TDY has proven extremely beneficial, not only to accomplish our own training, but to train alongside our Spanish partners for future operations," Thompson said.

Airmen from the 31st Aircraft Maintenance, Civil Engineer, Security Forces and Communication Squadrons accompanied the 510th to provide critical support during the training mission.

"We hope the training helps forge lasting relationships with our Spanish allies for future and coalition operations, as well as complete our training requirements," Thompson said.

The annual training in Zaragoza is required for all pilots stationed at Aviano.

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