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Carpathian Summer: Reserve Citizen Airmen strengthen bond with Romanian air force

A Romanian air force C-130 taxis down the flightline in support of Carpathian Summer 19.

A Romanian air force C-130 taxis down the flightline in support of Carpathian Summer 19. (Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

A C-130H Hercules assigned to the 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., takes off

A C-130H Hercules assigned to the 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., takes off in support of Carpathian Summer 19. (Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

A Romanian air force C-130 taxis down the flightline in support of Carpathian Summer 19.

A Romanian air force C-130 taxis down the flightline in support of Carpathian Summer 19. (Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

A C-130H Hercules assigned to the 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., prepares for a takeoff

A C-130H Hercules assigned to the 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., prepares for a takeoff in support of Carpathian Summer 19. (Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

A group of Reserve Citizen Airmen spent two weeks this summer strengthening the already-strong bond they share with the Romanian air force.

Reservists and C-130H Hercules aircraft from the 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, trained with their counterparts from the Romanian air force during the annual Carpathian Summer exercise at Otopeni Air Base, Romania, in late July and early August.

The exercise provides a platform for U.S. Air Force and Romanian air force aircrews to sharpen their skills and creates an opportunity for those on the ground to form lifelong bonds.

“This is giving our younger Airmen a chance to get out and stretch their legs a bit,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Keen, 908th Maintenance Group production superintendent. “They have all the training they got back home under their belt, and are now putting it into practice. It’s gratifying to see, and it strengthens our unit in a way we can’t get back home.”

This year, the training consisted of low-level tactical mountain flying, airdrops, assault landings and aeromedical evacuation flights. Maintainers and logistics Airmen also worked closely with their Romanian counterparts on techniques, tactics and procedures.

“These guys have been outstanding hosts,” Keen said. “They’re a really good group of people to work with and are extremely knowledgeable about their aircraft and systems. After serving with some of the Romanian air forces in Afghanistan, I’ve noticed they show the same skill and integrity wherever they go.”

This is the 908th AW’s third year participating in Carpathian Summer. The goal of the exercise is to enhance U.S. interoperability and readiness with Romania through combined air operations.

“After three years, the camaraderie between us has only grown stronger,” said Master Sgt. Kendall Williams, 908th Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “Their maintenance team has some of the best maintainers I’ve ever seen. Down the line, if we have the chance to work with them, these exercises will definitely make things easier and smoother.”   #ReserveReady

(Mayfield is assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing public affairs office, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.)