Military Reserve Exchange Program increases interoperability
By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady, 480th ISRW/PA
/ Published August 18, 2017
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- The 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Intelligence Group and the 718th Intelligence Squadron hosted United Kingdom Cpl. Christopher Medley, intelligence analyst, as part of the Military Reserve Exchange Program here, July 31 to Aug. 11.
MREP is a coordinated international exchange program between reserve NATO forces to help develop cultural understanding, regional expertise, language proficiency and interoperability. The program creates a professional experience with the continued expansion of partnership building activities and meaningful support to Combatant Commands’ theater support cooperation efforts, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Brian Brooks, 718th IS director of operations.
Medley believes the experience has been good because it gave him the chance to see how things are done in the U.S. Air Force.
“I’ve had some contact with the agencies in the past, but it’s been actually good to see how it works firsthand,” he said. “Seeing how the reserve squadrons do their business, seeing how the ops floor works and how the different squadrons and units mesh together to carry forward with the operation is beneficial.”
The hosting units provide program participants with training opportunities to broaden their professional development and increase their knowledge of other reserve forces, according to Brooks.
“When we set up the agenda, we wanted to make sure he (Medley) got a look into every arc and mission that was here on this base,” Brooks said. “We wanted to explain that these are our missions, give him a unit mission brief from every one of our squadrons and let him spend a little time with our folks.”
The program also provides an opportunity for the host units to display their readiness to Reservists from other nations, as well as learn from the visiting foreign participants.
Brooks said the units had a mobilization tasking to go to a location where Medley was previously, then, during their unit training assembly weekend they gave the corporal a chance to brief.
“He was able to brief about how the UK does their reserve program and how many programs they had that allows reservists to participate,” Brooks said. “Then, he was able to give that in-depth knowledge of where he’s been deployed to so our Airmen will have a firsthand perspective of what they are going to go into as far as base defense and what’s going on in the local area.”
Medley visited and shadowed at all Air Force Reserve Command units on JB Langley, along with the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing and 363rd ISRW. He also participated in a unit training assembly weekend, sat in on pre/post UTA meetings, and trained with 718th IS members.
To conclude their guest’s visit, the 718th IS hosted Medley for several group dinners and lunches to give him exposure to both the full-time staff and total reserve members.
Now, Medley said, when he and the other forces operate together, he has in mind who they are, how they link together with other units, and how they can call on different units to get the job done, he said.
“Just seeing all that is good,” he said of his experience. “And, in the last few days I’ve done some historic visits around the states, which has been good from a personal development point of view.”
Medley was selected for the program based on his experience, nomination package and recommendation from his commander. He has served with the regular Royal Air Force for more than 13 years and has also served with the RAF reserve for nearly nine years. He has served overseas in RAF Germany, and during his military service, he received three commendations from Air Officers Commanding.
Medley said he plans to use his experience from the exchange program to bring a breadth and depth of operational experience back to his unit and to be a credible representative of UK reserve.
“I feel quite honored to take part in this,” said Medley. “It’s a chance to meet new people, represent the UK, and to hopefully build contacts and relationships. It’s really an honor, and I’ve been really lucky to take part in it.”