Partners in the Pacific - Global Dexterity 23-1

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Makensie Cooper

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE AMBERLEY, Queensland — Royal Australian Air Force No. 36 Squadron and U.S. Air Force 15th Wing teamed up to train together for Exercise Global Dexterity 23-1 at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, Australia, April 23 through May 6, 2023.

The USAF and RAAF integrated personnel during the two-week-long exercise, with the goal to help develop bilateral and tactical airlift and airdrop capabilities of both nations while achieving mission success across a spectrum of tactical objectives.

“Global Dexterity is a unit-level, coalition exercise between USAF and RAAF C-17 squadrons designed to strengthen the alliance, develop seamless operations and maintenance integration, and train together for contested mobility operations in a theater both nations view as a top priority,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Tucker, 535th Airlift Squadron commander. “It’s not just for aircrew. Each year, we strive to integrate and align our maintenance procedures so that one day RAAF and USAF operations are indistinguishable from one another.”

During these two weeks, both nations integrated aircrews and conducted low-level formations, cargo and personnel airdrop, and air to air refueling using a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport.

“We’ve had the chance to do some formation flying, which we don’t get to do that often, so being able to launch three C-17’s with mixed crews in a three ship airdrop mission with some low level thrown in is quite extraordinary,” said RAAF FLTLT Dan White, No. 36 Squadron pilot. “We‘ve done some Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief training missions with mixed crews so we were able to prove that we can operate on short notice to affect a major Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief mission should that arise in the future.”

During this exercise, additional training was accomplished by including Australian Defence Force cargo requirements into the mission planning and transporting ADF cargo to Momote Airport, Papua New Guinea in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

“Anytime we train together, we learn something new – new tactics, techniques and procedures, new capability of the aircraft, or new ways to solve old problems,” said Tucker. “I feel like part of an on-going, living history between our two nations. It has been an honor flying alongside RAAF pilots and ‘loadies’ in their aircraft.”

The partnership between nations is especially important given the changing strategic environment in the region. The USAF and RAAF’s partnership in the Indo-Pacific is key to sustaining peace and stability in the region.
“Strengthening our partnership in the Pacific is vitally important, particularly through the humanitarian disaster relief training missions we’ve conducted,” said White. “Getting to know the people of 535th and building those relationships means that if the time comes and we have to jump in an aircraft together, we can do so safely and effectively.”