News: Air Force members 'exchange ideas' during French visit
Story by Airman 1st Class Nigel Sandridge
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - The 48th Fighter Wing and members of the French air force exchanged ideas and views on military equipment during visits to Royal Air Forces Lakenheath and Mildenhall Oct. 2 through 4.
Organized by Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, 3rd Air Force commander, the event was orchestrated to further strengthen the camaraderie between U.S. and French forces.
"It was a great exchange," said Maj. Lee Stanford, 48th Operations Support Squadron wing weapons. "We haven't really gotten the chance to fly with them or practice together, but this is a great step toward progress."
French air force members toured both RAF bases for three days, building partnerships through briefings, meetings and hands-on demonstrations in a F-15E Strike Eagle simulator.
"We learned how powerful the F-15[E] really is," said French air force Maj. De France Christophe, staff officer in the Strategic Air Command. "We spoke with pilots and weapons systems officers that explained to us how they work with their aircraft, and we explained how we work with ours."
Along with learning about the F-15E, French air force members educated U.S. Airmen on the Dassault Rafale, a twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft commonly used in France.
"In the future, now it will be possible to form missions together," Stanford said. "Exchanging ideas and capacities, along with just being able to sit down with them and build a rapport, was a great experience."