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Keeping partnerships prosperous at TLP

Royal Netherlands air force Capt. Tim Peijneburg, pilot from Leeuwarden Airbase, The Netherlands, returns a salute from U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Augustine, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, after they return each other's flags from being flown at Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26.  Training programs like TLP showcase how the U.S. works side-by-side with NATO Allies and partners every day, training to meet future security challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Royal Netherlands air force Capt. Tim Peijneburg, pilot from Leeuwarden Airbase, The Netherlands, returns a salute from U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Augustine, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, after they return each other's flags from being flown at Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26. Training programs like TLP showcase how the U.S. works side-by-side with NATO Allies and partners every day, training to meet future security challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Members of The Royal Netherlands air force from Leeuwarden Airbase, The Netherlands, pose for a photo with U.S. Air Force dedicated crew chiefs from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26. The training prepares NATO and allied forces flight leaders to serve as mission commanders, lead coalition force air strike packages, and provide tactical air expertise to NATO agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Members of The Royal Netherlands air force from Leeuwarden Airbase, The Netherlands, pose for a photo with U.S. Air Force dedicated crew chiefs from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26. The training prepares NATO and allied forces flight leaders to serve as mission commanders, lead coalition force air strike packages, and provide tactical air expertise to NATO agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Members of the German air force pose with Staff Sgt. Andrew Augustine, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, for a group photo during Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26. Throughout its 39-year history, TLP has become the focal point for NATO’s Allied air forces tactical training, developing the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to face today's air tactical challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Members of the German air force pose with Staff Sgt. Andrew Augustine, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, for a group photo during Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, Sept. 26. Throughout its 39-year history, TLP has become the focal point for NATO’s Allied air forces tactical training, developing the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to face today's air tactical challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

LOS LLANOS AIR BASE, Spain --

When the U.S. Air Force supports contingency operations in a deployed environment, it usually does so with the help of other NATO nations.

Training courses like NATO Tactical Leadership Programme 16-3 strengthen the NATO alliance by providing an opportunity for participating nations to work alongside their supporting partners, both on the flightline and in the classroom.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Augustine, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, takes opportunities like TLP to build relationships with other airmen from different nations participating in the exercise.

"After spending a lot of time with the other nations out on the flightline, we were curious to learn about each other's aircrafts and began to discuss them more," Augustine said. "After a while, we became close friends."

Ensuring each aircraft is ready to fly at a moment’s notice is a challenge, even at home station. When the unit is 1,000 miles away, that challenge is implied; but it's made easier with allied partners willing to help.

"We're fortunate to have the ability to reach out to our NATO allies should we run into any potential issues that could hinder flying operations as well as being postured to support them should the need arise" Augustine said.

Increased cooperation through regular training opportunities like this builds familiarization and strengthens our interoperability as NATO Allies and ensures our alliances remain strong for future exercises and contingencies.

Training programs like TLP are an example of how U.S. forces work side-by-side with its NATO Allies and partners every day, training to meet future security challenges as a unified force.