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Air Forces from U.S., Chile take off for NEWEN Exercise

  • Published
  • By Capt Nathan D. Broshear
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Members of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Airmen from around the Air Force are working alongside Chilean partner military members as part of the NEWEN exercise in the skies over Santiago and along the beaches of Quintero, Chile.

The NEWEN exercise directly follows Air Force participation in FIDAE 2008 -- the most successful event of its kind to date in Chile and one of the largest air and trade show events in the world.

Air-to-air refueling missions conducted with Chilean and U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters using KC-10 Extender and KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling are central to the three-day exercise focused on qualifying and practicing this vital military operation.

"Chilean F-16 aircraft are practicing dissimilar air combat maneuvers with U.S. F-16 and F-15E Strike Eagles while also capitalizing on the presence of USAF KC-135 & KC-10 aircraft to conduct aerial refueling with the FACh (Chilean Air Force) F-16s," explained Col. James Russell, the director of operations at 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern). "To refuel aircraft in flight is a critical skill for military aviators, and activities scheduled during NEWEN will better prepare the FACh F-16 aircrew to participate in coalition operations worldwide."

"The Chilean aircrews have proven to be extremely proficient in their tactics," said Maj. Tim Sehnem, an F-16 pilot with the 457th Fighter Squadron at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, in Fort Worth, Texas after a sortie where his four-ship formation of USAF aircraft acted as "Red Air" (mock enemy forces) to challenge an oncoming FACh formation. "This mission was a learning experience for both sides of the dogfight -- I'm looking forward to the next sortie."

In addition to refueling operations, pararescue personnel from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., will conduct pre-hospital trauma life support operations alongside Chilean pararescue personnel in classrooms and the field. A small landing zone near Quintero is where rescue personnel will parachute in to provide aid during a simulated mass-casualty event.

In the first phase of the exercise, an HC-130 Hercules flew over a pre-designated landing zone to allow for a practice pararescue jump prior to full-scale deployment the next day. During the next jump, USAF and Chilean search and rescue personnel simulated a combat search and rescue recovery of downed aircrew and a mass-casualty evacuation as they stabilized and loaded "patients" made up of military members aboard the HC-130 to be taken to hospitals or other treatment facilities.

"This event simulates the challenges rescue personnel face whether responding to a humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operation or emergency recovery of downed aircrew in a hostile environment," added Colonel Russell. "The goal is to exchange expertise and tactics, techniques and procedures in a safe environment to better prepare us to work seamlessly together if or when the unexpected eventuality calls us to execute in reality."