by Staff Sgt. Michael Matkin
NATAL AIR BASE, Brazil: More than 150 Airmen and seven aircraft are representing the United States for the first time in Brazil's air exercise CRUZEX V. Members of the 161st Air Refueling Wing from Phoenix Arizona are flying a KC-135 and the 140th Wing, hailing from Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., is flying six F-16s in the exercise, along with air planners from Air Forces Southern, located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
CRUZEX V, or Cruzeiro Do Sul (Southern Cross), is a multinational combined exercise involving the Air Forces of Brazil, Chile, France, the United States and Uruguay, with observers from Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Peru, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. The exercise has more than 85 aircraft and almost 3,000 Airmen participating.
The two-week exercise focuses on building partnerships with Airmen from across Latin America and France while ensuring that Airmen are prepared to assist the international community as part of larger coalition efforts. It is another example of the U.S. Air Force partnering with other nations to train and work together in the future, said Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre, exercise co-director, deployed from the 140th Wing, Buckley AFB.
This ability to train together as a coalition of nations is the goal of CRUZEX V. To facilitate this training, a scenario was created mandating the different countries work together to enforce a fictional U.N. Security Council resolution with a Peace Enforcement Force and an international coalition.
"The exercise, initially designed to standardize actions in a coalition scenario based on NATO structure, has become the most important promoter of integration among our Air Forces," said Lieutenant-Brigadier Juniti Saito, Brazilian Air Force Commander. "The continuous practice of combined activities offers the opportunity to expand the bonds of mutual confidence, nurturing relationships and creating a harmonious environment for all participants."
"Together each of our Air Forces will benefit from the opportunity to fly together, train and share our common Airmen culture," added General Eyre.
"When I notice the highest level of professionalism and the enthusiasm of all who contribute to make CRUZEX possible, I am convinced, even more, that the intense technological evolution is only possible thanks to an exponential rate of human development," said Lieutenant-Brigadier Saito. "Undoubtedly, the environment of responsibility and friendship contributes to our operational progress, joining forces and assuring the best fulfillment of our missions."