37th Airlift Squadron, Movement Coordination Centre Europe team up to support Dutch paratroopers

Paratroopers from the Royal Army of the Netherlands complete an airborne operation as part of their winter training exercises in Sweden. The Dutch paratroopers jumped from a U.S. C-130 assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Peter Lankreijer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron helped the Royal Army of the Netherlands finish their winter training exercises and conduct airborne operations March 6-7 in Sweden.

What may have seemed like a routine training mission was actually a significant first of its kind. This mission was the also the first Department of Defense, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe supported intra-theater multinational coordinated air transport mission through the Movement Coordination Centre Europe in the process.

The MCCE is a multinational military organization based at Eindhoven Air Base, the Netherlands, formed to help solve NATO identified European shortages in lack of strategic transportation assets and the ability to coordinate, and use more effectively and efficiently, the assets they do have.

"This was a parachute operations request from the Royal Army of the Netherlands for their winter training exercise in Sweden," said U.S. Army Maj. Jeremy Baran, U.S. Liaison Officer to the MCCE. "The Dutch didn't have an aircraft, specifically a C-130, they could use to perform their jumps, so they contacted the MCCE Air Transport cell and made a request for assistance."

These types of requests are common and occur daily from any of the 23-member nations of the coordination center, according to the major. Once the MCCE Air Transport cell received the request, they sent it to the member nations asking for assistance and Major Baran contacted the 603rd Air Mobility Division and USAFE for assistance. When USAFE answered that they could support, they began planning the mission.

"This is the first time that USAFE participated in an actual executed mission," Baran said. "They have been asked a couple of times for support, but unfortunately there was never a match made between the requesting nation and the United States."

Supporting operations such as this has numerous benefits for the 23-member nations.

"It is an excellent example of national partnerships being in place to support each other at critical moments," said Lt. Col. Richard Clark, USAFE MCCE coordinator. "Airlift and air refueling capabilities are expensive enterprises and each nation, including the United States, attempts to optimize their force to meet their expected requirements."

Having the ability to request additional capability from your neighbors during surge operations, or to account for unexpected shortfalls, can mean the difference between successful missions and cancelled events, according to Clark.

"This mission was very successful, and even though it was cold, we were able to get the drops off for the Dutch training to be successful," said Maj. Christopher Spangenberg, 86th Operational Support Squadron Chief of Current Operations. "This was a very important mission because it shows our interoperability with our NATO partners, and our mutual support between countries."

The MCCE has created a virtual monetary exchange system that allows a nation to join with, or without, any aircraft, and allows them access to the entire pool of aircraft.

Currently, there are 33 different types of aircraft and 376 total assets available for coordination.

Since this system has been in place, the MCCE has coordinated approximately 19,000 equivalent flight hours, which equates to four C-130s flying full time.

"From a U.S. perspective, this is an incredible opportunity for engagement and relationship building," said Baran. "One thing I've learned from my time at the MCCE is that logistics, and more importantly, international logistics is a relationship business and without the relationship, moving strategically is a huge challenge."

Since the United States joined the organization with a jointly signed agreement between EUCOM and U.S. Transportation Command in August 2008, the U.S. liaison officer has been working with EUCOM, USTRANSCOM, and other subordinate commands to develop the concept of operations to be used within the framework of the MCCE for U.S. participation.

This participation has much larger implications though, because it could also be adopted in the Defense Transportation Regulation to help close the gap in guidance on how to move coalition or multinational cargo with DoD provided strategic or operational transportation assets.

"Now that we have proven we can crawl, we can start to look for other opportunities," Baran said. "This was truly a multinationally coordinated mission. The Dutch were the requestors, and because they were jumping with Belgian parachutes, a C-130 was required. The United States via USAFE and the 37th AS provided the C-130 for the operation in Sweden, and as a result, the Dutch were able to finish their winter training exercises and conduct their airborne operations."

With requests for support becoming a daily occurrence and the ability of units like the 37th AS to provide support when others cannot, these missions may become more common. And, with increased cooperation, the relationships between the United States and its international partners will continually improve.

Find more articles tagged with:

Comments: 0

Your comment:

Related Topics

VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

International Cooperation

Flag of Germany

Germany

Flag of Netherlands

Netherlands

Flag of Sweden

Sweden

NATO flag

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Capt. Barbara Bujak, physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, speaks in her native tongue, Polish, with members of Multinational Battle Group East's Polish Contingent and European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Bujak, who was born in Poland, moved to the U.S. at age 11 and joined the U.S. Army five years ago. Bujak's temporary assignment at Camp Bondsteel allowed her to experience a familiar ceremony in a new location.

Military-to-Military Engagement Program

A US Airman waits to offload the final pallets from the cargo aircraft which arrived in Russia from Sigonella delivering firefighting equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Keith Houin provided in real time via smartphone/RELEASED)

U.S. Air Forces in Europe

Related Articles

  • Forward…Ready…Now: USAF builds partnership with Polish Armed Forces

    More than 100 Airmen and three C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed to enhance bilateral defense ties with Polish armed forces members during a scheduled aircraft rotation to the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland.
  • Hagel, Sweden’s Defense Minister Meet at Pentagon

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Sweden’s Minister of Defense Karin Enström at the Pentagon today, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
  • EUCOM conducts communication training

    "I really think that EUCOM provided us with the best insight and tools on strategic communication," Ceku said. "EUCOM strategic communication experts had an in-depth knowledge about the cultural complexity that Kosovo has and they have adapted their training perfectly for our own needs."
  • Hagel Hails Netherlands as Strong U.S., NATO Partner

    Hagel strongly emphasized the importance of the Netherlands as both a bilateral partner and North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and on behalf of the Department of Defense, reemphasized the commitment of the U.S. to the strong United States-Netherlands defense partnership.
  • Multinational Planners Ensure Successful Exercise

    Representatives from 10 nations met to plan the 41st Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) at the naval base in Kiel, Germany, Apr. 9-11. BALTOPS 13, annually hosted by the United States Navy, aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies.
  • Aviano Airmen train with Spanish counterparts

    More than 250 Airmen and 14 F-16 Fighting Falcons from Aviano Air Base returned from a training mission to Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, March 27.
  • Kansas Guardsmen return from week long deployment to Armenia

    A three-person team from the Kansas National Guard’s 235th Regiment has returned from a weeklong trip to the Republic of Armenia where they conducted a site survey for basic medical first responder and casualty evacuation procedures.
  • Minnesotan, Norwegian Soldiers Celebrate 40 Years of Partnership

    After two action-packed weeks, the 40th Anniversary of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) has come an end. The longest partnership-in-training between two nations, NOREX has been, and continues to be, a shining example of the positive reciprocity that can exist between allied militaries.
  • Sky Soldiers conduct mil-to-mil training in Bulgaria

    Chief Warrant Officer 3 Edwin Maldonado, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Drafall and Capt. Aaron Becker had the opportunity to travel to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, to mentor and instruct the 2nd Mechanized Brigade of the Bulgarian Army.
  • BPC Coaches Croatian air force on survival

    Members from the 435th Contingency Response Group building partnership capacity activity visited Croatian air force members at Lucko Air Base, Croatia, Feb. 18 through 22.
U