86 AW connects USAF, Allies and Partners for Astral Knight 23-6

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Megan Beatty
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 86th Airlift Wing participated in Astral Knight 23 Part 6, an exercise aimed to demonstrate proactive and reactive Agile Combat Employment deployments, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania; and Rovaniemi Air Base, Finland, Aug. 18-23, 2023.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron and 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany, participated in the multinational live-fly field training exercise by transporting Airmen and cargo necessary for quickly launching and recovering aircraft at both locations.

“Airlift is essential when personnel and cargo are required to be at a new location on a shorter timeline than it would take to move by ground,” said Capt. Mandy Olguin, 37th AS C-130J Super Hercules weapons officer. “It is important to constantly validate our assumptions in the ACE scheme of maneuver because these processes can rapidly change. It is important to understand where our limitations are in order to maneuver more efficiently if directed to execute ACE in a real-world scenario.”

This iteration of AK23 is the culminating piece to a larger, overarching exercise which started in May 2023. The exercise enabled U.S., Lithuanian and Finnish airmen to enhance command and control procedures while improving logistics with Allies and Partners in the Arctic and Baltic regions through multinational inter flying formations and ground operations.

Additionally, the 37th AS transported approximately 90 U.S. Airmen to Lithuania from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, and the 48th FW, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

“Our mission is to be ready all the time and work with any country we are Allied or Partnered with,” said Maj. Sandra Salzman, 37th AS pilot-physician. “With mutual support between Allies and Partners, we can execute any mission that is asked of us — any time of the day or night. Exercises allow us to practice that and work out the kinks now, so if, and when, we are asked to do it we are a fast and fit team.”

The U.S. Air Force regularly trains with Allies and Partners across Europe to ensure timely and coordinated responses during peacetime and contingency operations. Exercises like AK23-6 provide an opportunity for Allies and Partners to synchronize their responses and provide a unified front across the Alliance.