Strengthening partnerships and interoperability between nations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 31st Fighter Wing is scheduled to participate in INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, from April 12-22, 2021.


INIOCHOS is an annual Hellenic air force-led exercise involving various countries such as the United States, Greece, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. Exercises like INIOCHOS promote interoperability and help to strengthen interoperability of allied and partner air forces during joint operations and air defenses in order to maintain joint readiness.


“Partnership boils down to trust,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe A. Munoz, 510th Air Maintenance Unit support section chief. “We need to trust our partners are going to operate in a way that helps us all meet our collective objectives. Interoperability is key in ensuring each nation can fold into a team, execute a mission in a dynamic environment and remain flexible to fill any role needed from them to maximize success.”


For the first time, a HAF C-130 Hercules picked up members of the 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano Air Base, Italy, to Andravida Air Base. 


Interoperability gives the opportunity for various allies to not only work together but also allows the ability to learn from each other.


One of the benefits from participating in INIOCHOS 21 is being able to work with different countries, and being able to train with them and experience working in a forward environment, said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kiah Distefano, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron installation readiness non-commissioned officer in charge.

INIOCHOS 21 also provides an opportunity for Airmen to enhance their professional relationships and improve overall coordination with allies and partner militaries.

“It [this exercise] enhances our perspective on how to solve daily problems and ultimately execute the mission,” said Munoz. “We are often in a bubble with fellow U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who typically all approach problems at similar angles. Working with different countries, we have the ability to watch them solve problems in ways we may never explore. It really opens your eyes to just how different we could do business to achieve our objectives. At the same time, it also shows you how similar we all are and our willingness to work together to achieve a common goal.”

The exercise also allows the U.S. Air Force to train in new and different environments with new challenges.

“Exercises are for learning,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeff Movsesian, 510th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “In every vocation: logistics, maintenance, flying, public affairs, you name it, we have young people who are doing this for the first time. It takes practice to travel without forgetting toothpaste. It takes more practice to launch F-16s in a new place without the comforts or habits of home.”

Training with allies and regional partners allows for synchronized and prepared responses to regional security threats and world-wide contingency operations. This exercise builds upon the nations’ joint capabilities, ensuring a much stronger partnership and enhanced interoperability.

“The cool part [of working with other countries] is how easy it becomes to relate,” said Movsesian. “One minute you’re negotiating to add another sortie or whatever, and then the next you learn about local Greek olive oil or Spanish wine. It’s easy to find purpose when you trust each other on a personal level.”

INIOCHOS will continue to help improve and adapt the U.S. Air Forces ability to complete the mission in new and more efficient ways.

“I do look forward to working with them in the future,” said Distefano. “The U.S. Air Force has participated in previous INIOCHOS exercises, so I am positive that the 31st Fighter Wing will see this again!”