Kentucky Air Guard supports Cope South in Bangladesh
By 1st Lt Cammie Quinn , Cope South Public Affairs Officer
/ Published November 16, 2012
KURMITOLA AIR BASE, Bangladesh -- A loadmaster from the Kentucky Air National Guard shared his knowledge of heavy-equipment airdrop procedures with a group of more than 20 Bangladesh Air Force Airmen here April 22.
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Shelby was one of more than 65 U.S. troops who participated in Cope South 2012, a bilateral tactical airlift exercise conducted with the Bangladesh and U.S. Air Forces from April 21 to 26. Participants worked side-by-side throughout the exercise to enhance readiness, cultivate common bonds and foster goodwill between members of both air forces.
Approximately 25 of the participants were Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard, while the rest of the American Forces came from the Georgia Air National Guard and Yokota, Kadena and Misawa Air Bases in Japan.
The Guardsmen deployed with two C-130H aircraft, while the Bangladesh Air Force contributed one AN-32 transport.
Cope South participants exchanged airlift, air-land and airdrop delivery techniques, according to Maj. Matt Quenichet, Cope South mission commander for the Kentucky Air National Guard. They also developed and expanded combined airlift capabilities with the Bangladesh Air Force.
Shelby shared the effect of air speed, altitude and wind speeds on parachutes after deployment from a C-130 and discussed other conditions to consider when conducting an air drop.
"The Bangladesh air force may be able to integrate some of our procedures into theirs," Shelby said. "This exchange allows us to share our capabilities, discuss different methods and demonstrate how to do everything safely."
Safety and terrain maneuvering are paramount issues for the Bangladesh Air Force.
"In our country, we practice more with paratroopers," said Maj. Arman Chokldhuvy, a Bangladesh squadron commander.
"We want to experience how the U.S. Air Force flies in our terrain and use it to help guide us to be safer in low-level flying during airdrops and deliveries."
The major said his team was especially interested in learning "different flying techniques and aspects of flight to assist us with delivering heavy loads for disaster-management missions."
Exercise participants covered a variety of subjects while conducting cooperative flight operations, including low-level navigation and aircraft generation and recovery. They also shared information in the operations, maintenance and rigging disciplines.
All these skills enhance the ability of forces to respond to regional disasters, according to Quenichet.
He said much of the training focused on "low-cost, low-altitude" airdrop techniques that are useful when responding to situations like floods.
Team members also focused on enhanced interoperability, Quenichet said, partly by trading places with each other.
Master Sgt. Mark Crane, a Kentucky Air Guard flight engineer, swapped cockpit seats with his Bangladesh counterpart during an April 25 training flight so Sgt. Mohammad Moniruzzaman could gain a better understanding of C-130H systems, equipment and checklists.
"I gave Sgt. Moniruzzaman the option to sit where I do to get the whole picture from the actual seat, rather than standing behind to watch as I work," Crane said. "The hands-on interaction is important and allows our guests to become fully immersed in the process."
The flight was the first training interaction Moniruzzaman has had with the U.S. Air Force and C-130H aircraft.
"It was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the different models," said Moniruzzaman, a flight engineer. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
The Bangladesh Air Force flies a C-130B model, while the U.S. Air Force flies the C-130H and C-130J models. The airframes are similar but use different pressurization, engine and avionics systems.
Cope South allowed the Kentucky Airmen to "provide first-hand experiences and demonstrate new capabilities with our counterparts," Crane said.
"The Airmen ask a lot of questions and are very knowledgeable about their own aircraft."