MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- From May 15 to June 15 this year, 193rd Special Operations Group and the 193rd Special Operations Maintenance Group Airmen participated in Trojan Footprint, a biennial U.S. Special Operations Command Europe-led exercise that incorporates U.S., NATO and European partner special operations forces and the annual Lithuanian Special Operations Forces-led multinational exercise Flaming Sword.
The Airmen hauled cargo and passengers, conducted a medical evacuation, and airdropped food, supplies and over 200 jumpers. Among those jumpers was the Lithuanian Secretary of Defense.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Neil Spence, 193rd SOG pilot; an aircraft commander for these exercises, said “crews and users gain proficiency and establish standard operating procedures between the different countries and joint forces. This establishes cohesiveness, efficiency, and safety when it comes to a real world scenario.”
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Iredale, aircraft maintenance supervisor for the exercises, echoed the importance of these exercises, saying “Exercises such as this one are important to test the readiness of forces and their ability to work together. The communication between participating nations is also a big challenge which can be improved by exercises such as this one.”
Special operations forces from: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, as well as the armed forces of Sweden and the United Kingdom participated with the United States Special Operations Forces this year.
“I expected to have a lot of fun and was excited to see countries I've never been to before along with working alongside other U.S. Air Force units and units from other countries. Participation alone; before, during, and after a flight/mission is always great knowledge of the other systems from the fellow Airmen you work with”, said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Steven Miller, propulsion specialist for the exercise.
Realistic and complex exercises help with adaptability, and build upon knowledge and skills amongst all SOF forces, making them ready and relevant for real-world joint operations.