Aircraft work together, hone combat edge
By Airman 1st Class Malissa Lott, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published August 21, 2014
NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. --
The flight line is shrouded in mist as Navy maintenance personnel prepare an EA-18G Growler for the individuals in green flight suits. Amongst a sea of Navy sailors, Air Force pilots work hand-in-hand with the Navy.
As the Navy leads the way in electronic attack, the Air Force trains and flies missions alongside our sister service.
"The way I tie in the importance of the Growler's mission is when the Strike Eagle is assigned high profile tasks," said Capt. Ruskin Herrera, 390th Electronic Combat Squadron weapons system officer. "The Growler protects them in combat where there are enemy radars."
Training with different services will help accomplish real-world missions. It reiterates the idea of joint combat and working together.
"I think the joint integration piece, the way warfare is conducted, is not just a single service responsibility," said Maj. Ajay Giri, 390th ECS electronic warfare officer. "It will never be just the Navy or just the Air Force. We all have different core competencies that complement each other and help accomplish national objectives for whatever campaign we are involved in."
The Airmen training with the Navy have the added benefit of understanding Navy terms and are able to translate to their Air Force partners. Using this skill, the Air Force and the Navy are better equipped to understand each other.
"Being that the Growler is the only aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory that does fast electronic attack, when the Air Force needs something jammed they need the Navy to be there and that's where having Air Force aircrew in these squadrons is going to be huge," said Maj. Shalin Turner, 390th ECS assistant director of operations. "I understand Navy and Air Force terms, so when all of this planning happens I can translate and help the two services become more cohesive."
Working with other services helps develop leaders at all levels. Learning the traditions of different services can also be interesting but is a good experience Turner said.
"I have enjoyed working with the Navy immensely," said Giri. "This is the second time I have flown with the Navy. Everyone in this squadron has done initial joint training with the Navy in Pensacola. It was called the Strike Navigator Program."
Each branch has its own specialties that fit together like puzzle pieces, but it also has more meaning for some.
"Integration between all services provides a unified front," said Giri. "Every service has very unique capabilities they're known for. When we combine our efforts, we are able to provide an extremely lethal combat force and accomplish whatever the mission calls for."
Turner explained sometimes the actions of one service are not always as effective as when multiple services work together. That is how wars are fought and missions are accomplished.
As the mist clears from the flight line, it becomes apparent the deliberate maneuvers between the Navy and Air Force service members. Multiservice aircrews climb into the Growlers, the partnership between the two military branches has forged a culture of combat effectiveness... Anytime, Anyplace.