Two C-130s and more than 30 airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard flew alongside Canadian and other international aircrews during a three-day exercise in Edmonton. The crews, from the 123rd Airlift WIng from Louisville ANG Base, work with other US airmen from Dobbins ARB, Ga., along with crews from Canada, Germany, France, and Great Britain between May 26 and 28 for Exercise Maple Flag. During the exercise, the C-130s flew in simulated environments with air-to-air and air-to-ground threats, designed to give crews more experience in combat environments, according to a 123rd AW release. “We can’t shoot back in a C-130,” Lt. Col. Charlie Hans, chief of scheduling for the 165th Airlift Squadron and the unit’s mission commander for the exercise, said in the release. “Our only defense is basically hide and survive, and then get our mission done and get out of there.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.