Defense Department News

U.S., Australian Airmen Team Up During Operation Inherent Resolve


Members of the Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force partnered to construct eight 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Okra here, Feb. 9, 2017.

Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David (last name not used due to security concerns), an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron RAAF, takes a group photo of U.S. Air Force and RAAF munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. The coalition partners assembled eight Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Okra, the Australian Defense Force’s contribution to the international effort to combat and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David, an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron, captures a group photo of RAAF and U.S. Air Force munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. During the shift Coalition partners assembled 8 Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
Munition Technicians
Royal Australian Air Force Cpl. David (last name not used due to security concerns), an imagery specialist with the 77 Squadron RAAF, takes a group photo of U.S. Air Force and RAAF munition technicians at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Feb. 9, 2016. The coalition partners assembled eight Joint Direct Attack Munitions weighing a total of 4,000 pounds in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Okra, the Australian Defense Force’s contribution to the international effort to combat and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward
Photo By: Senior Airman Tyler Woodward
VIRIN: 170209-Z-CO490-111

Partnering nations contribute in the dismantling of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in nearly every aspect. From aerial refueling to armament building to conducting strikes, the coalition provides commanders with decisional advantage daily.

‘We Are Fighting the Same War’

“We are fighting the same war,” RAAF Leading Aircraftman Stefan said. “Communicating with the Americans has been so easy. They’ve been able to teach us so much that has helped us with our jobs and vice-versa as well.”

Munitions Flight Officer in Charge 1st Lt. Leigh Ann shared why coalition relationships at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing are so unique.

“Working with coalition partners brings to light the scope of what we are doing out here,” Leigh Ann said. “The mission that we are working has a world-wide effect and it is awesome to see how the small day-to-day interactions result in big, strategic missions and accomplishments. I think that is what makes this environment so special -- multiple countries working together for a common goal.”

Historic Air Campaign

According to Air Forces Central Command, nearly 99 percent of all weapons employed have been precision guided -- making Operation Inherent Resolve the most precise air campaign in the history of warfare.

As of 2014, both RAAF F/A-18 Hornets and F/A-18 Super Hornets have flown cumulatively over 2,101 sorties and 16,146 hours and dropped in excess of 1,630 munitions during Operation Okra.

“I think it’s important to develop coalition relationships,” 77 Squadron RAAF Armament Technician Leading Aircraftman Andrew said. “It just makes you feel like a part of a bigger team.”

(Editor’s Note: Last names of service members aren’t used due to security concerns)