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US, Coalition Air Forces partner together to build relationships through munitions collaboration

By Senior Airman Tyler Woodward 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

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UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, Feb. 10, 2017 — Members of the Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Air Force constructed 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Okra at an undisclosed location, Feb. 9, 2017. Partnering nations contribute in the dismantling of ISIS in nearly every aspect of OIR. From aerial refueling to armament building to conducting strikes, the Coalition provides commanders with decisional advantage daily.

Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward) US, Coalition Air Forces partner together to build relationships through munitions collaboration
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
“We are fighting the same war,” RAAF Leading Aircraftman Stefan said. “Communicating with the Americans has been so easy. They’ve been able to teach us so much that has helped us with our jobs and vice-versa as well.”

Munitions Flight Officer in Charge 1Lt. Leigh Ann shared why Coalition relationships at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing are so unique.

“Working with Coalition partners brings to light the scope of what we are doing out here,” Leigh Ann said. “The mission that we are working has a world-wide effect and it is awesome to see how the small day-to-day interactions result in big, strategic missions and accomplishments. I think that is what makes this environment so special—multiple countries working together for a common goal.”

According to Air Forces Central Command, nearly 99 percent of all weapons employed have been precision guided—making Operation Inherent Resolve the most precise air campaign in the history of warfare.

As of 2014, both RAAF F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18 Super Hornets have flown cumulatively over 2,101 sorties and 16,146 hours and dropped in excess of 1630 munitions during Operation OKRA.

“I think it’s important to develop Coalition relationships,” 77 Squadron Armament Technician Leading Aircraftman Andrew said. “It just makes you feel like a part of a bigger team.”