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    Mission support Airmen rely on cross-cultural relationships to enable Theater Security Package in Romania

    Mission support Airmen rely on cross-cultural relationships to enable Theater Security Package in Romania

    Photo By Capt. Andrew Layton | Maj. Cosmin Tanase, Romanian Armed Forces (center) and Capt. Bradley Antognini,...... read more read more

    CÂMPIA TURZII, Romania -- Approximately 250 U.S. Airmen are currently deployed to Câmpia Turzii, Romania, supporting Theater Security Package 19.1, a deterrence and partnership-building mission to supplement NATO rotations in the region.

    Most of the Airmen and F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft are assigned to the 301st Fighter Wing, Naval Air Station Joint Base Fort Worth, Texas. Deployed as the 457th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the Airmen are expected to remain in Romania supporting TSP 19.1, also known as “Dacian Viper 19,” through the end of July.

    While U.S. aircrews fly training missions with their Romanian counterparts, a team of base support Airmen ensure operations and maintenance specialists have the resources to keep their F-16s in a prime readiness posture.

    “We’re doing everything behind the scenes; from fire protection, to security, to collecting items that our operations and maintenance personnel need from the local economy through our contracting office,” said Capt. Bradley Antognini, base operating support officer-in-charge at Câmpia Turzii, who is deployed from the 52d Mission Support Group, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. “Essentially, we’re making sure the city runs.”

    Antognini, with his team of more than 75 personnel representing combat communications, civil engineering, personnel, fuels management, logistics, vehicle management, and other fields, arrived at Câmpia Turzii approximately two weeks ahead of the F-16s to ensure the site was fully operational before the aircraft, operations personnel, and maintainers arrived.

    As guests at Câmpia Turzii, ensuring these support functions for the F-16 crews requires close coordination between the U.S. Airmen and their Romanian hosts. Antognini is quick to point out that his team has relied on their Romanian counterparts to overcome several obstacles during their first few weeks in-country. One challenge arose when he identified a shortage of grounding rods, used to anchor parked aircraft.

    “Our U.S. contracting team was looking on the economy and they estimated about two weeks before we would be able to get the grounding rods,” said Antognini.

    That’s where Maj. Cosmin Tenase, chief host nation support officer, Base 71, Romanian Air Force, was able to assist.

    “It was awesome,” said Antognini. “Maj. Tanase was able to make one call and the next day we had grounding rods.”

    For Tanase, collaborating with international partners to turn the seemingly impossible into reality is all in a day’s work. He has led Câmpia Turzii’s host nation support office for the past three years, drawing heavily upon experience with U.S. allies in Afghanistan and in multiple other readiness exercises.

    “I think the main goal we have is to be operational and to not work like separate countries, but like a single team, to make sure we can achieve our goals,” said Tanase. “Making sure our pilots can train with the American pilots, making sure everything works well regarding the support; we can help the American with the necessary means to move all their equipment here and be fully operational.”

    Antognini added that participating in multinational exercises of this kind enhances professional relationships and ensures the improvement of overall coordination with allies in advance of a potential real-world action.

    “I meet with Maj. Tanase almost every day to discuss whatever projects we have going on,” said Antognini. “Doing this sort of event certainly helps us exercise our ability to get out here quickly, especially with the logistics and civil engineering portion; we can take what we’ve learned here and apply it to any other possible scenario in the event of a crisis situation.”

    Over the past decade, approximately 10 other rotations of U.S. Airmen and aircraft have been hosted at Câmpia Turzii, including A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-15 Eagle, and F-18 Hornet squadrons. Even with this long history of U.S.-Romanian cooperation, each time U.S. Airmen arrive at Câmpia Turzii for a new rotation, Tenase looks forward to the opportunity to build new relationships. Already, TSP 19.1 has proven to be no different.

    “Now that everything has gotten settled in the first couple of weeks, we’ve been spending a lot more time together getting to know one another, exchanging experience and cultural information, trying to be more like friends than just colleagues,” he said.

    Like Antognini, Tanase believes working across cultures to enable the mission pays dividends toward ensuring continuity and interoperability are in place prior to any potential real-world response situation.

    “Beyond that, it’s a good opportunity to build something together,” he said.



    Date Taken: 05.14.2019
    Date Posted: 05.15.2019 03:36
    Story ID: 322336
    Location: CAMPIA TURZII, RO 

    Web Views: 118
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