“The goal of this exercise is to build trust, understanding and to integrate our platforms. I think (socializing off-duty) is absolutely vital,” said Royal air force Wing Commander Chris Hoyle, 1 (Fighter) Squadron commander. “When we’re speaking about the bonds between our nations, that’s professionally, but I think you get another level of trust when you socialize with each other and understand each other’s cultures. I think what they’ve done on this exercise is really commendable—by having socials early on rather than (having to go home just as you start understanding) each other—were doing it right from day one and I think that’s a really valuable experience.”
According to French air force Lt. Col. Yann Malard, French detachment commander, the outside interaction helped the Airmen to feel right at home. During the process of getting to know their counterparts, all the Airmen of Atlantic Trident 17 were afforded the opportunity to improve their team work on the flightline.
French air force and U.S. Air Force Airmen participate in the Atlantic Trident 17 soccer tournament, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., April 22, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell)
“This exercise is about flying, but obviously, all the team work is not about (the air) crews, you’ve got all the technicians walking around, working with (each other to) share, communicate and improve their knowledge,” said Malard. “I think if you don’t know each other, you’re not good at teamwork. The objective for us socially is to know each other, that way if you’ve got a question (or a small issue) you’re not suffering all by yourself. If you need something and you know each other, then you can say, ‘I need your help’—obviously that’s a help on the flightline itself.”
With the many social gatherings and opportunities to explore the cultures of their fellow Airmen, Hoyle explained that in the end, these events help the Airmen prepare for the fight ahead of time.
"Like I say, ‘we need to be able work together on day one of a conflict,’” said Hoyle. “If the question was ever asked of our forces, we can’t afford to work up to things, we need to be able to perform on day one and this exercise is about that integration. It’s about learning how we’re going to work together, not in a fashioned means for us to ‘pass,’ but we need to excel and that’s what ( Atlantic Trident 17) is all about.”
Members of the U.S. Air Force and both the French and Royal air force tour Yorktown Battlefield, Va., April 22, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell)