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International partnerships for global readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ryan Bishop
  • 110th Wing

DVIDS - News - International partnerships for global readiness

ALPENA COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Mich. — Firefighters from the Latvian National Armed Forces and the Estonian Defense Forces traveled to the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Michigan, to participate in Northern Strike 21-2 from Jul. 31 through Aug. 14, 2021. Northern Strike is a training exercise focusing on readiness and interoperability with many different units and multinational partners in realistic multi-domain environments.

The CRTC has areas specifically designed for fire training including a simulated aircraft fire, road vehicle fires, as well as multi-story building fires. The ability to provide continued training in these areas is beneficial to U.S. armed forces as well as international partners, enabling all to work as cohesive units as well as being able to manage these incidents independently.

This multinational training environment allows for units to gain knowledge from one another and improve on skills they would otherwise be unable to rehearse. At the same time, U.S. forces are able to build stronger relationships with international partners and ensure they receive the same high-standard training that U.S. military personnel receive.

Training alongside international partners establishes confidence that U.S. missions abroad are adequately supported by qualified personnel. Having aircraft operating in the vicinities of partner countries, it is critical that qualified personnel are available to support the missions and the aircraft flying these missions.

“It’s a lot more cost effective for our coalition partners to be trained up to a level of service than for us to deploy U.S. personnel to support our own aircraft,” said Alpena CRTC Fire Chief Jeremy Wohlford. “We’re helping them build their capabilities to be able to sustain if something were to happen."

Expanding the capabilities of U.S. forces abroad is important for continued mission success, and strong international partnerships allows the U.S. to heighten the deterrence and support capabilities of our allies.

Over the years, the U.S. has worked with many other countries through the State Partnership Program. Michigan’s official partners through the SPP are Latvia and Liberia. Chief Wohlford, working with multiple Air National Guard units throughout the state of Michigan, has helped to build the Latvian National Armed Forces fire fighter program from four firefighters to 34 since 2012.

“I think the program is really important because it’s really helped us see the big picture when it comes to the Air Force,” said Chief Wohlford. “Over the years, working with our partners has been really rewarding.”