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Team Dobbins, Latvian air force collaborate for Sky Fist

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alan Abernethy
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

94th Airlift Wing Reservists participated in Sky Fist 2016, an aircraft mishap response exercise at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, Oct. 5-7, 2016.

“This is a great exercise that builds the relationship between the Latvian air force and the (U.S.) Air Force,” said Col. Armands Saltups, Latvian air force commander.

For the training, a 94th AW C-130H was positioned on the runway to simulate a crash with Latvian military members and civilians aboard, said Lt. Col. Terence Green, 94th AW mission planner for Sky Fist.  The Latvian civil and military emergency response teams then evacuated the casualties from the aircraft and provided simulated medical treatment.

“The exercise was a great team building experience,” said Senior Airman Josh Stubbs, 700th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “The Latvians were very hospitable; they gave us everything we needed for the exercise, shuttled us around base and even gave us lunch one day.”

Some 94th AW Airmen played the role of mock-crash victims during the training, said Stubbs, who was evacuated from the aircraft and treated as a casualty.

Not only were 94th AW crews able to participate in the emergency response training, they also had the opportunity to gain more experience communicating with international air terminal staff, said Green. 

“Most of the problems we have when flying outside the U.S. involve overcoming communication barriers,” Green explained. “Going to Leilvarde AB and working with the Latvians sets us up for a stronger working relationship in the future.”

At the conclusion of Sky Fist, the 94th AW Reservists returned to Poland to participate in training with the Polish air force for Aviation Detachment 17-1 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, said Green.