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    My journey down under

    Talisman Saber 2013

    Photo By 1st Lt. Jessica Colby | RAAF Air Force Imagery Specialist Leading Aircraftman David Said (left) and USAF...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Exercise Talisman Saber Combined Joint Information Bureau

    By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
    JBER Public Affairs

    QUEENSLAND, Australia - As a photojournalist, I get to see a lot of how the Air Force runs. I have just recently witnessed two main joint missions on my trip down to Australia for Talisman Saber 2013.

    The first joint ability I witnessed was how well different Air Force units work together. Before we took off there was a maintenance issue that forced us to switch C-17 Globemaster IIIs. The crew seamlessly transferred from their Joint Base Lewis-McChord jet to a C-17 provided by the 517th Airlift Squadron out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. I watched as the crew moved at high speed and got the JBER jet ready to go. It was amazing to see the speed and precision the crew displayed to get back on schedule.

    I had prepared for what would prove to be a long flight, more than 16 hours, but didn't realize how many U.S. Army soldiers from the 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division would be boarding the C-17. They boarded with their gear, but I noticed they weren't rigged up with their parachutes. The reason for this was that they were going to do in-flight rigging.

    I had never seen this before and I have to say that the Army is proficient at what they do. In the crowded jet, all of them formed a line and grabbed their parachutes and rigged standing up about an hour out from when they would jump into Australia. I watched as each soldier was inspected from head to toe after they secured their gear.

    Then it was time. The C-17 loadmasters opened the troop doors while the soldiers stood with their cord clipped onto a wire that would pull their chutes when they exited the aircraft. I heard the jumpmasters shout that there were 5 minutes left and all the soldiers repeated.

    The next thing I knew, soldiers were filing out the door, stepping out as though it were a natural thing to do, just walk right out the side of an aircraft. After two passes, the soldiers, minus the jumpmasters, were no longer on the C-17.

    We finally landed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley where I had my first experience with the RAAF.

    I got to continue that experience when I got to fly on a RAAF C-17A Globemaster in part of a joint training operation with the USAF C-17s. They flew together and dropped small pallets to demonstrate the ability to airdrop supplies wherever they needed to go. I got to document the flight with a RAAF counterpart who did the same job as me. It was a great experience to work with them and see that although we are in opposite hemispheres, the work we do is the same. I saw this also with the way the RAAF loadmasters and pilots operated. I felt as though I was still on a USAF C-17 other than the uniforms and the accent coming through the headset.

    Overall, I have to say from first-hand knowledge that our partnership with Australia is genuine. From the pilots, to working with the enlisted, I could see that we operate very well and proficiently together. I am very grateful for this experience and can't wait to work with the RAAF again.



    Date Taken: 07.24.2013
    Date Posted: 07.29.2013 02:15
    Story ID: 110968
    Location: QLD, AU

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