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US, Germany conduct crew chief exchange at Blue Flag 17

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Abby L. Finkel
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

Four U.S. Air Force crew chiefs had the opportunity to participate in a two-day exchange with German air force counterparts while at Blue Flag 2017.


On the first day of the exchange, two German airmen shadowed the Americans as they prepared and launched F-16C Fighting Falcons assigned to the 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy.


For the German maintainers, who are trained on multiple types of aircraft, it was a drill in familiarization aimed at refreshing their knowledge of the F-16.


One of the participants in the exchange was U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Linholm, a crew chief with the 510th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. He spent the first day of the exchange walking his German counterpart through his routine.


"We showed them a step-by-step launch," Linholm said, "the danger areas of the jet, where to go if hydrazine was to spill on the jet, and things like that."


After shadowing the Americans for both morning and afternoon sorties, the following day the Germans invited four U.S. crew chiefs to shadow them as they prepared Eurofighter Typhoons for a day of flying.


"For us, it was a great experience to go over and actually work with the Germans," said Capt. Jonathan Tolman, 510th AMU officer in charge. "While the U.S. Air Force does not fly or maintain the Eurofighter, it was still an opportunity to get out and experience something different, especially for our young maintainers."


In addition to learning about how each country prepares their aircraft for a day of flying, the exchange, as well as Blue Flag as a whole, gave Airmen the opportunity to network and build partnership capacity.


"We are really excited about working with the Israelis and different forces from all over the world," said a German air force crew chief. "It's a great opportunity to come closer together and to learn new things about different cultures."


"We'll leave with new friendships and new experiences," he continued.


Blue Flag 2017 is a biennial multinational exercise hosted by Israel. This year, for the third iteration of the exercise, eight partner nations trained together to improve coordination, integration and tactical effectiveness.