MALACKY AIR BASE, Slovak Republic (Sept. 18, 2015) — The Soldiers stood single-file, alert for the cue to charge toward the landing helicopter so they could unload the supplies on board. Several feet away, their NATO allies guided the helicopter toward a safe landing. All involved were engaged in separate yet related tasks to get the resupply accomplished.
Soldiers, assigned to 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, currently stationed in Vilseck, Germany, teamed together with their Slovak allies to accomplish a resupply drop on Malacky Air Base, Slovakia, during the combined training Exercise Dragoon Crossing, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Sept. 15.
The drop, which provided necessary supplies to accomplish the combined training exercise, demonstrated the ability for the NATO counterparts to operate with a common understanding of the tactical-level activities associated with working as one undivided team.
“The resupply drop today represents the two universal factors in sustainment: flexibility and adaptability,” said 1st Lt. Joshua L. Kerwood, maintenance control officer for 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and a native of Bonsoir, New York.
The interoperability experience allowed for each side to communicate with one another on how to accomplish the task while working together. While there were many similarities amongst how the allies perform the tasks, there were also differing tactics to learn from one another.
“We came out here before the drop and talked with the Slovaks, and discussed with them our tactical procedures, which allowed for learning opportunities,” Kerwood said. “They learned some things that we do differently about aerial supply, and we learned some things that they do differently, such as having the helicopters skirt around the airfield.”
The resupply drop strengthened the NATO allies’ ability to quickly and competently work together, despite challenges faced, increasing the ability of allied armies to combine their units and assets while operating as a combined force.
“The flight crew had never been here before, yet they were able to trust the Slovaks to properly guide them in,” Kerwood said. “It went really well, and resulted in us getting our resupply in time.”
As the helicopters glided into the sky after the supplies were unloaded, all involved marveled at the speed and accuracy with which the maneuver had been performed – an example of NATO’s ability to move forces, equipment and supplies across allied borders while maintaining freedom of movement throughout the region.