More than 70 U.S. Air Force Airmen and one U.S. Space Force Guardian assigned to the 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, joined approximately 300 members of the Bangladesh Air Force to evaluate and improve their combined interoperability during Exercise Cope South 2022 from Feb. 19 to Feb. 26. The bi-annual Pacific Air Forces-sponsored bilateral tactical airlift exercise was an opportunity for U.S. Air Force and BAF to practice tactical airlift together. U.S. Air Force Capt. Madeline Atkinson, 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron mission commander explained why a bilateral exercise like Cope South is so important in maintaining and strengthening regional stability.
“We need to continue to better ourselves and continue to better our allies and partners, and we can develop together. We’re coming to these different locations, learning how to operate in different countries to see how they work and how we can integrate, so if something ever happens we’re ready,” said Atkinson.
“We’re learning from the Bangladesh Air Force. They train differently than we do and they operate differently than we do. That diverse exchange of ideas is beneficial for our folks. I hope we can benefit from the exchange of ideas that we have and build that relationship on a personal level,” said Master Sgt. Paul Vieira, 36th EAS senior enlisted leader.
U.S. Air Force and BAF participants shared knowledge and best practices, including discussions on C-130J capabilities, crew resource management, and aircrew flight equipment nomenclature, to better execute exercise tasks during Cope South. Static line jumps, high altitude, low opening (HALO) jumps, low-level flight, night observation flights, and containerized delivery systems airdrops were some of the tasks participants were able to execute together. Throughout the exchanges and training objectives, both air forces were able to share tactics, techniques, and procedures.
The ability to execute tactical airlift training side-by-side with a partner nation proved invaluable for participants from both air forces. Exercises like Cope South improve Pacific Air Forces’ ability to work with partner nations in maintaining regional stability. For Lt. Col. Kira Coffey, 36th EAS commander, bilateral exercises like this are critical in ensuring that priority is achieved. Exercise Cope South 2022 marks the exercise’s 13th iteration, in a continued effort to enhance U.S. and Bangladesh forces’ ability to operate together during humanitarian aid and disaster relief response and counter transnational threats and hazards, to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.