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Cope West shows U.S. partnership with Indonesia

by 1st Lt. John Harden
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/26/2010 - HALIM AIR BASE, Indonesia (AFNS) -- Members of the U.S. and Indonesian air forces held an opening ceremony here April 20 that officially marked the beginning of a joint tactical airlift exercise called Cope West 2010.

Cope West is a weeklong bilateral field training exercise sponsored by the two countries' air forces.

Cope West is designed to advance interoperability between the two air forces, and allows for the exchange of techniques specific to U.S. and Indonesian C-130 aircraft operations. The exercise provides the opportunity to exchange ideas related to airlift, air-land and airdrop missions.

Airmen from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and their Indonesian counterparts attended the ceremony.

"This exercise is designed to foster partnerships that allow us to share our best practices and to enhance the overall capability between the Indonesian air force and our own," said Lt. Col. David Kincaid, the 36th Airlift Squadron commander. "By training together now, the U.S. and Indonesian C-130s will be able to rapidly integrate to supply humanitarian assistance to our neighbors in the region, should the need arise."

Three Air Force C-130 Hercules aircrews from Yokota AB and one C-130 from the Indonesian air force are participating in the exercise.

"By taking the time now to integrate our operations, we are establishing a functioning, rapidly responding humanitarian force capable of operating anywhere in the region," said Capt. Aron Pena, a Cope West mission planner and pilot from the 36th AS. "Building this relationship and learning how to work together when we're needed; that's the whole point of this exercise."

For many Airmen taking part in the exercise it's the first time they've had the opportunity to interact with each other.

"Not only is this the first time I've been able to interact with the Indonesian air force, but also the first time I've been able to see my new squadron operate internationally," said Master Sgt. Mike Worley, the 36th AS first sergeant. "I'm excited to see how the two countries perform together as the week progresses."

As a demonstration of the two air forces' interoperability, C-130s from both countries took to the sky shortly after the ceremony, marking the official start to the exercise.

"Our aircraft are different and our doctrine is different, but this exercise represents a common thread our two nations share," Colonel Kincaid said. "Cope West is particularly important to both Indonesia and the United States because it enables us to meet the needs of neighbors in the region and lets them know we're prepared when they call."



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