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    U.S., Estonian Special Operation Forces enhance readiness through air operations

    U.S., Estonian Special Operation Forces enhance readiness through air operations

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Pena | U.S. and Estonian Special Operation Forces prepare to board a U.S. Air Force CV-22B...... read more read more

    TALLIN, Estonia Air Commandos with the U.S. Air Force's 352nd Special Operations Wing, based out of RAF Mildenhall, U.K. returned to Tallin, Estonia Sep. 3-9, 2019, to conduct a multitude of air operations with other U.S. and Estonian Special Operations Forces, out of an Air Force Special Operation Command CV-22 Osprey.

    “The CV-22B Osprey is the U.S. Air Force’s premier SOF vertical lift assault platform. Ospreys and their crews are capable of the full spectrum of SOF missions in all phases of conflict. They conduct the infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces throughout the European theater,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Clay Freeman, commander of the 352nd SOW

    U.S. and Estonian partners spent the week focused on three mission objectives that could be applied to any part of the world, any time, any place: Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction System familiarization, casualty evacuation and rapidly loading and off-loading a tactical vehicle onto the aircraft.

    During the FRIES training, U.S. and EST service members practiced fast-roping from the Osprey from twilight and into the night. This added capability allows forces to be inserted into small or condensed areas were landings are impractical.

    “Ideally, with any platform you want to do an air-land, it’s the safest and quickest way to get troops off the aircraft for infiltration,” said the 352nd SOW mission commander. “If the target area is too small or it’s a rooftop then you have to kick out a rope and then do FRIES.”

    This unique mission set is extremely beneficial during high-end conflict and; it is vital that operators across the force understand how to execute it effectively and efficiently.

    “We brought our special tactics operator with us due to his more recent training and higher level of experience fast-roping from an Osprey.” said the mission commander. "Getting everyone to a level of comfortability with FRIES enhances our capability to operate bilaterally.”

    Once the FRIES training was complete, U.S. and Estonian members practiced loading and off-loading vehicles from the CV-22, an alternative for inserting troops into a challenging area of operations.

    The Osprey is an ideal platform for distant target areas,” said the mission commander. “We can go further in a shorter amount of time than any other vertical-lift platform. If the infil is to an offset, the troops can utilize the Osprey cabin space to load ATV’s, MRZR’s and dirt bikes to then get to the objective area quickly, rather than having to hike.”

    These types of trainings are designed to deepen the relationship between U.S. and Estonian SOF while strengthening a ready and capable force.

    “You never know when or where you’re going to have to conduct operations; the enemy always has a vote,” said an Operational Detachment commander. “So, being able to train in different types of conditions - day/night iterations and various types of terrain, helps us simulate as many possible scenarios as we can.”

    The final training objective to be accomplished was casualty evacuation via the CV-22, in a uniquely challenging setting.

    “We got clearance from the landowner to use their private field, which really opened up our aperture to conduct our casualty evacuation training within Estonia, on a dustier airfield. By the time we were at 50 ft., you couldn't even see the ground anymore from all the dirt being kicked up,” said the mission commander.

    “For our own training it created a low-visibility approach, and for the Estonians, they were to join us in a real-world operation that has a desert environment, it is useful to know what our prop wash would be and how to properly protect their eyes and find their equipment so that they can be safely lifted,” he added.

    352 SOW will continue to train with partner forces in order to provide combat ready, responsive, specialized, airpower and combat support to execute full spectrum of SOF missions around the world.

    “One of our main priorities is training bilaterally, developing interoperability and partner capabilities. So learning from them and them learning from us is always at the forefront of our priorities in this type of learning environment. The 352nd SOW along with our Estonian partner here, have been great to work with and we hope to see them again,” said the ODA commander.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.22.2019
    Date Posted: 09.22.2019 16:35
    Story ID: 342929
    Location: TALLINN, EE 

    Web Views: 306
    Downloads: 0

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