RAF Mildenhall hosts European Tanker Symposium
The 100th Air Refueling Wing hosted the European Tanker Symposium here May 9 through 11with attendees from Royal Air Force 101 Sq., French air force "Bretagne" Sq., Italian air force 14 Wing, Belgium air component, and the 603rd Air and Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The 100th Air Refueling Wing hosted the European Tanker Symposium here May 9 through 11with attendees from Royal Air Force 101 Sq., French air force "Bretagne" Sq., Italian air force 14 Wing, Belgium air component, and the 603rd Air and Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The ETS aimed to help strengthen relationships between the 100th Air Refueling Wing and its NATO allies, by networking and sharing experiences for continued operational success during future joint endeavors.

The idea for the ETS was inspired by Operation Unified Protector. The operation was the first time many of the aircrews had the opportunity to work with the NATO allies during non-training operations.

"During the operation, improvements were identified, that if implemented, could have made communication easier," said Capt. Adam Dalson, 100th Operations Group, one of the event coordinators.

Dalson added that a lack of experience, limited knowledge about the other NATO allies and the different languages were some of the challenges faced during OUP.

To help alleviate these challenges for any future NATO operations, the 100th ARW created the symposium for future success between the allies.

The symposium included briefings and guided discussions about lessons learned from OUP, the future of European refueling, and a familiarization ride in an American KC-135 Stratotanker flight simulator.

In addition, each visiting country had the opportunity to teach the other attendees on their aerial refueling capabilities.

"The centerline boom is 75 feet long and can transfer approximately 600 gallons of fuel in a minute," said Italian air force Capt. Valerio Nuccilli about their aircraft, the KC-767.

Airmen from Team Mildenhall and visiting forces also had the opportunity to tour a KC-135, a KC-767 and a French C-135FR.

Overall, participants said the ETS was instant success, and they are looking forward to a follow-up event in the future.

"There were some great discussions, which was very good," said Belgium air component 1st Lt. Christophe De Greef, Movement Coordinator Center Europe. "When you go to a meeting, you only have time to give your presentation, that's it. Here, we had a lot of time to discuss whatever we had to discuss with issues. Hopefully we can work them out for next time and bring some solutions to the table."

Dalson agreed.

"The symposium has been a larger success than I could have hoped for," said Dalson. "Everybody was incredibly helpful and really engaged."
 

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