Multinational joint exercise kicks-off today Published Sept. 30, 2013 By Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A multitude of various planes arrived while others already took to the skies near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, today as the multinational combined-joint exercise dubbed Mountain Roundup 2013 kidcked-off. The exercise is part of the German Air Force Tornado Fighter Weapons Instructor Course Mission Employment (ME) Phase, and is scheduled to end Oct. 19. The base and the 266th Range Squadron control and maintain emitter sites across almost 7,500-square miles of operational range space, and it's that access to airspace and ranges that allows for realistic, safe training and testing while providing the flexibility to accommodate the complexity of this multinational, multiservice exercise. The end result to proper training is real-world employment. The Air Force has become a crucial component of combined-joint operations. In Afghanistan's Regional Command-North, there's a very similar operational situation to what will be exercised here throughout the next few weeks. In RC-N there's a large German military contingency working in union with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to employ forces and eliminate threats on the ground. That exact scenario will be exercised during Mountain Roundup. Realistic training provides the U.S. and partnered warfighters with the combat edge. Mountain Home has hosted the training since 2004 because the base has the right mix of air space, modern ranges and proficient personnel, which creates the perfect location for this type of combined-joint training. "The end result of this exercise is a collection of warfighters from multiple nations and branches of services that are significantly more prepared to engage in coalition major combat operations," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Tapan Sen, 366th Fighter Wing Weapons and Tactics Flight commander. In training for warfare, realism is paramount. "Everybody brings different capabilities, so the challenge at Mountain Roundup is to determine who the best person is to execute a task," said German Air Force Maj. Marcel Schlereth, ME phase manager. More than 300 Germans and Canadians, and an equal number of U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force are participating in ground operations, close-air support, urban combatives, convoy operations, basic fighter maneuvers, counter air and multiple air-to-air training scenarios. The goal is simple. Everyone involved hopes to provide better integrated and proficient combined-joint forces. "Virtually any contingency operation involving the U.S. Air Force will also involve joint partners and, in all probability, contain coalition partners," said Sen. Earlier phases of German training are accomplished at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., where German aviators typically spend three years in continual training, exercising their capability with American partners at annual Mountain Roundups. The exercise is really about certifying German Air Force commanders, while bolstering international interoperability. "This really takes the best from Green Flag and Red Flag, and is a training opportunity I would not want to miss," said Schlereth. In addition to the F-15E and F-15SG Strike Eagles assigned here, multiple EA-18G Growlers, F-15C Eagles, AG-51 Tornados, F-16 Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, KC-135 Stratotankers, KC-130 Hercules, B-1B Lancers, AH-60 Blackhawks, AH-64 Apaches, and other NATO-, German- and U.S.-support aircraft will be participating.