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Airmen train with multinational force during CRUZEX V

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.

CRUZEX, or Cruzeiro Do Sul (Southern Cross), is a multi-national combined exercise involving the Air Forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Uruguay, and observers from numerous other countries with more than 82 aircraft and almost 3,000 Airmen involved.

U.S. participation in this multinational event is at the invitation of the Brazilian Air Force and was years in the making.

The two-week exercise focuses on building strong partnerships with Airmen from across Latin America and France while ensuring that Airmen are prepared to assist the international community as part of U.N.-type 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 Brigadier General Trulan A. Eyre, exercise co-director, deployed from the 140th WG, Buckley, Colorado .

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 that the different countries involved work as a synergistic team to accomplish a mission. In the scenario, there are three major components involving fictional countries - the Blue forces operating out of Natal and Recife, Brazil against Red forces. A simulated U.N. Security Council resolution with a Peace Enforcement Force and international coalition is in effect. The Combined Air Operations Center will exercise a simulated air campaign involving fictional scenarios.

"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."

The USAF units participating are: The 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, Arizona, flying a KC-135 and the 140th WG, Buckley, Colorado, flying six F-16 Fighting Falcons, along with members of Air Forces Southern.