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274th ASOS Trains With Dutch Army

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Syracuse, N.Y. -- July 10 through July 15, 2014, 13 members of the 274th Air Support Operation Squadron (ASOS) along with 13 members of the Dutch Army participated in Joint Tactical Air Control (JTAC) training at Fort Drum, Range 48.

The purpose of the training was to assist the Dutch Army in getting familiar with the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, which they'll be flying in the future.

"This is a great way for the Dutch members to get familiar with the MQ-9 because the Dutch government is buying the MQ-9 for the Dutch Air Force," said Lt. Col. Patrick Cox, Commander of the 274th ASOS. "This will be a great opportunity for them to work with the aircraft."

The MQ-9 was not the only aircraft that the Dutch Army will work with during this training. They worked with the A-10 Thunderbolt II's over the weekend and the MQ-9 yesterday and today.

"This is a good chance to work with our NATO partners that we may end up seeing when we deploy in the future," said Cox. "Anytime you work with foreign JTACs, it gives you a chance to trade ideas and techniques; we get a chance to understand their capabilities, as far as an Air Force goes, if we end up working with their aircraft someday from the ground."

Hancock Field has the benefit of having access to Range 48, which is one of the better ranges on the East Coast, as it can accommodate a variety of airframes for its use.

"It's nice to be able to host people here in our country and show them the facilities we have," said Cox.

Cox reached out to other squadrons and asked for their participation in the training as well.

He contacted the 20th ASOS, who were instrumental in bringing the A-10s for this training. He also reached out to the 2nd ASOS in Germany, as they have had difficulty getting Close Air Support (CAS) flights to maintain currency. Hancock Field provided them with equipment such as trucks and radios to access the range and conduct CAS flights there. CAS flights are how JTACs count their missions to receive currency.

"It's fairly easy for the Dutch Army to get here and we can then provide them with the equipment when we host them and it benefits both parties involved," said Cox.

"It's a great deal for us because we get to train with foreign JTACs, get different experiences, learn different techniques and it's a good deal for them especially because they get to come train on equipment and techniques that they may have never seen before that we can demonstrate to them," said Cox.