GRAFENWOEHR, Germany, July 6, 2011 -- United States servicemembers and 15 NATO nations are fully integrated for an 11-day training exercise, conducted at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, German, known as Allied Strike 11.

AS 11 is Europe’s premier Close Air Support, or CAS, exercise. It is held annually to conduct CAS training that helps build partnership capacity among NATO nations and joint services to refine the latest operational CAS tactics. Hosted by the Joint Multinational Training Command, or JMTC, the exercise allows support teams to practice emergency procedures and demonstrate effective combat communication skills between nations in a realistic setting.

“Some of the opportunities we are going to receive here is the ability to integrate as team leaders and set conditions for training, and learn from those,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Scott Allen Myers, with the 4th Air Support Operations Group from Heidelberg, Germany. “Individuals going through training are going to see a dynamic task conditions and standards set from an international forum.”

Joint and multinational coordination of air and ground operations is a critical task for all military operations, and particularly for the type of NATO counterinsurgency operations currently underway in Afghanistan, said Myers.

“Multinational partners are fighting together downrange, and this training sets us up for going down there and doing our job the right way,” said Myers.

Allied Strike 11 teaches U.S and NATO commanders to conduct CAS operation in support of full-spectrum operations.

“I think it’s a good effort to get the nations together and do the training so it will be easier to work together in the theater,” said Denmark Air Force Sgt. Maj. Morten Nyrum, from the Denmark Air Force Training Center in Karup Jylland, Denmark.

The training scenarios replicate and train Tactical Air Control-Party/Joint Terminal Attack Control teams to conduct CAS, while supporting Army units in counterinsurgency operations. Day one of this training includes a Military Free Fall parachute jump from the skies above the Bunker Drop Zone at the GTA. Myers completed his simulated mission to land and engage the enemy with two other jumpers.

“It has been a great experience,” said Myers. “It is only day one of our 11-day experience that we plan to learn new lessons everyday and expand on multinational training.”