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AFSOUTH Airmen participate in Exercise CRUZEX V

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Airmen from the United Sates, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Uruguay are preparing for flying operations on the northeast coast of Brazil as part of Exercise CRUZEX V. The Brazilian-led exercise began officially on Oct. 28 - Nov. 19, taking place in Natal and Recife, Brazil.

The U.S. Air Force is participating in CRUZEX with more than 150 USAF Airmen, six F-16s and one KC-135. Partner nations are bringing more than 19 types of aircraft and helicopters, in total 82 aircraft are participating along with almost 3,000 personnel.

CRUZEX is a multinational air exercise that is focused on interoperability in operations planning, aerial refueling and air-to-air operations. During the exercise, Airmen will exercise command and control of a simulated air campaign involving fictional scenarios within a combined air operations center.

"We are training as coalition members in a peacekeeping air campaign exercise where we will practice air-to-air, refueling and planning operations," said Col. Edward Kostelnik, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Director of Operations. "Scenarios within CRUZEX have broad applications across many spectrums of conflict and provide an opportunity for Airmen to train with their counterparts so that we can integrate seamlessly during future operations as part of a larger coalition."

The majority of the exercise participants are located at Natal Air Force Base, while another group of Airmen are working out of Recife Air Force Base.

Airmen from across the Americas will work together in the sky above Brazil's forests, as well as on the ground during community relations events in which they will showcase their aircraft to local leaders and meet with local children.

"This is the first time that the U.S. Air Force has been invited to participate in Brazil's premier multinational air exercise. We are excited to be here and look forward to all that we will learn by training with other Airmen," Colonel Kostelnik said. "Each Airman here --Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean, French, Uruguayan and U.S.-- brings a unique skill set to the table and every participant is vital to the success of CRUZEX so that we can improve capabilities and interoperability."

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