One of the most important European tanker trainings, EART 2021, has ended. For me as a young Public Affairs Officer, it was a very exciting time with many experiences, new people and a lot of fun.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that I became an officer of the German Air Force and that my superior asked me, if I would like to join the exercise as a PAO. I was very excited because it would be the first time for me being part of a multinational training outside of Germany. We set up a team to deploy to Lanzarote airbase. We were three young professionals: a first lieutenant also from the German Air Force headquarters, a corporal from the Special Air Mission Wing in Cologne and me. Our task was to support EATC´s PAO, communicate, produce videos, take photos and learn from this unique opportunity.
Always and everywhere with the crews
My two colleagues and I arrived at Lanzarote a day before the official start of EART. There, we met our Italian EATC colleague for the first time. Right from the start, we took as much footage as we could wherever and whenever we got the chance. Our work also included talking and connecting to the crews of the different nations and accompanying them during the exercise.
Most important for us was to understand their daily working routines as well as hearing about their backgrounds and views. A slight language barrier with all the various accents was waiting for us. However, this did not hamper us in connecting with the crews from Spain and France, talking to the mentors from Italy, Australia and the MCEE, or discussing with the maintenance teams.
The spectrum of our daily business was wide-ranging: we covered the work of the multinational maintenance teams, we interviewed the EATC Commander, the crews, the people behind the training, and we were leading the media day. It was a great experience to join flights with a Spanish A400M and a French A330MRTT when they performed air-to-air refueling with the fighters.
Sometimes time does not matter – especially when you are passionate about your work. Seeing the amazing results, at dawn, arriving at the Air Base to set the camera for a time-lapse video of the pre-flight preparation, or at sunset, for low-light shooting after an evening flight, always pays off the effort.
Back in Berlin, we look back at two weeks full of adventures and beautiful memories. The exercise was a very interesting and special time for us. We learned a lot about EART and air-to-air refueling as well as about the different work procedures of nations and their aircrafts, respectively. Especially remarkable was their willingness to standardize and to train together. We experienced the importance of multinationality first hand and observed how their teamwork led to success.
My German colleagues and I had a very great time. We are now looking forward to our next multinational challenge!
Story by OF-1 Nathalie Passon (German Air Force)