ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — Two HH-60G helicopters from the 56th Rescue Squadron took off July 29 for exercise Allied Strike 2010 in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany.
Encompassing approximately 200 military personnel and 24 aircraft from the U.S. and five European nations, AS10 is designed to replicate as closely as possible the command and control systems units see while providing tactical air control and close air support in a counter-insurgency situation.
"It's an outstanding opportunity for the 48th Fighter Wing to continue to reach out to train with the joint team and continue to improve our interoperability and tactics with our allied partners," said Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Gregg, 56th RQS commander.
During the exercise, the 56th RQS will perform casualty evacuations as well as aerial gunnery practice in support of ground troops. The logistical planning for participation in Allied Strike has been underway for three months, and the squadron's support personnel and equipment are already in place in Germany awaiting the arrival of the aircraft.
"The deployment piece was enabled by USAFE airlift," said Gregg. "It showcases our rapid deployment capability and teamwork required to establish an initial operating base."
Gregg added that Allied Strike and subsequent large-scale exercises will help the 56th RQS Airmen prepare for their upcoming real-world deployment.
"Allied Strike is Rescue's Afghanistan mission," he said. "Any opportunity to practice our lifesaving tasks with the allies we fight beside is a win for training and for the soldier in the fight."