Spangdahlem Airmen strengthen partnerships at Berlin Air Show
By 2nd Lt. Clay Lancaster, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 28, 2014
Five Spangdahlem Airmen spoke with trade vendors and aviation enthusiasts May 20-25, 2014, at this year's Berlin Air and Trade Show, or ILA, to promote strengthened partnerships with NATO and to discuss aircraft capabilities with attendees here.
Two F-16C Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft were on display and the crew members were available throughout the day to speak with aircraft enthusiasts and spectators about the capabilities of the F-16. Airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa bases and their aircraft also attended the event, which typically is host to more than 200,000 visitors.
"Interoperability with our allies is important, not with just other nations, but with other assets, and it's important to understand what other countries bring to the fight," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Casey Manning, F-16C pilot and Spangdahlem team lead at the international show. "This trade show is important because it brings two very important pieces together, interoperability and partnering with other nations. If we have the military folks, the contractors and the civilians all thinking on the same wavelength it increases the understanding later on in the future if we ever have to operate together as a team effort."
Going into the fourth day, Manning, his crew and their aircraft had their messaging clear and rotating the spectators down to an art. Each aircraft commander was in charge of their aircraft and how detailed they wanted to get with the spectator tours. Manning's display would have one Airman helping visitors take photos while two others would be deep in conversation discussing certain aircraft capabilities and maintenance procedures.
Keeping the aircraft capable and ready to respond is a key factor in ensuring the U.S. is able to work with its allied partners. Maintaining a multi-million dollar aircraft takes a special and highly competent crew of Airmen.
"The technical part and a key piece of maintenance is training and further my knowledge of this aircraft enables others to go out to a forward location and operate on their own," said Staff Sgt. Colin Hunt, F-16C dedicated crew chief. "With the F-16, it's still going to be a huge asset in this theater and we have made upgrades that will keep it flying for a long time."
The more than 60 U.S. service members and their aircraft made their way from several bases within USAFE-AFAFRICA and Army commands. Additionally, the C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft "Spirit of Berlin" made its bi-annual trek from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., to take part in this international event.
The first three days of the show are dedicated to displaying the latest developments and products in the aerospace industry to spectators or visitors. The last three days of the show are dedicated to inviting the public out to display the aircraft and technologies of each participating nation and to enjoy the aerial demonstrations being put on by participating nations.