RAF FAIRFORD, England --
Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) conducted a combat readiness evaluation on the NATO Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corp (ARRC) during Exercise Loyal Leda 2020 (LOLE20), which took place at Royal Air Force Fairford and South Cerney, England, Nov. 9-19, 2020.
HQ ARRC participated in LOLE20 to complete their NATO Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL), to be certified as NATO's War Fighting Corp Headquarters held at high-readiness until January 2022. This means they are on stand-by to conduct large-scale short-notice deployments for NATO. This is the first time a Corps level headquarters has been held at readiness by NATO since the Cold War.
LOLE20 involved approximately 1,200 troops conducting exercise operations at RAF South Cerney, RAF Fairford and Imjin Barracks.
On Nov. 17-18, a delegation from LANDCOM arrived at RAF Fairford and RAF South Cerney to conduct the CREVAL. Many distinguished visitors were in the delegation, including U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and U.S. European Command commander, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., LANDCOM commander, British Army Lt. Gen. Ivan B. L. Jones CB, Commander Field Army, and German Army Gen. Jörg Vollmer, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum commander, used the runway at RAF Fairford to travel to and from exercise locations during their review.
“I think given the constraints that we were under, from the COVID perspective, a complicated exercise was even more difficult, and by sheer hard work on the part of many hundreds of people, it worked really well,” said British Army Maj. Dave Thorne, Royal Army Medical Corps, NATO Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps staff officer grade 2 Joint Visits Bureau, who coordinated the NATO dignitaries’ visits. “My job was to reach all around the world where there’s people coming in from, collect them, move them, get them to where they needed to be, and present them with a visits program, and get them a realistic reflection of the exercise.”
RAF Fairford military and civilian personnel supported the LOLE20 exercise through ground transportation, flight line support, and the use of RAF Fairford’s Site 16.
“It was absolutely amazing to welcome all the distinguished guests to RAF Fairford,” said Capt. Jody Hasebe, 420th Air Base Squadron operations and installation reception officer, who coordinated the flight line logistics at RAF Fairford. “While all of the coordination and planning that goes into such events can be stressful at times, it’s always so worth it. While I didn’t have the opportunity to meet the DV’s themselves, I always love seeing the logistics in action and nothing gives me more job satisfaction than seeing the entire team come together to create and execute something incredible. When you work with such enthusiastic and hard-working people, you can’t help but love your job.”