ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – Holloman Air Force Base has some very special guests, the Royal Canadian Air Force. They’ve also brought their F-18s.
“The purpose of our visit and deployment down here to Holloman Air Force Base is to conduct unit level force generation training. So for us that means our pilots, our maintainers, and our supply personnel,” said Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Col Forrest Rock.
The Royal Canadian Air Force arrived at Holloman two weeks ago and since their arrival, they’ve been busy.
“The biggest purpose for them being here is what we call D.A.C.T. or dissimilar air combat tactics. It’s where we are able to take the F-16 and the F-18 and fly against each other in an environment where we normally don’t get to do that,” explained Capt. Joseph Gagnon, 54th fighter group instructor pilot at Holloman Air Force Base.
The two countries believe training together has a lot of benefits, like learning how each country’s aircraft operates is extremely important when they are on joint missions like in Afghanistan.
“We like to be out there and try to see what we need to do differently. Do we speak differently? Do we have different lingo for how we operate? In different TTP’s or tactics techniques and procedures,” Capt. Gagnon said.
The Royal Canadian Air Force will wrap up its training at the end of next week, but they still have a few goals to accomplish.
“From a unit perspective, I think our goals were to fly a certain amount of hours down here and complete a certain amount of training. And today it seems like we’re blowing that out of the water,” said Lt. Col Rock.
They say one of the most rewarding parts has been strengthening ties between the US and Canada.
“Coming down here and having an opportunity to take advantage of the fantastic weather and at the same time train with our partners and experience different forms of aircraft is very beneficial to us,” Lt Col Rock said.
Captain Joseph Gagnon says he hopes to make this a yearly training exercise.