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Airmen deploy to Hungary for bilateral training exercise 
Around The Guard 
Staff Sgt. Brad Rowley shows a Hungarian air force air maintainer the nose landing gear on an F-16 Fighting Falcon 
Staff Sgt. Brad Rowley, a crew chief with the 178th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard, shows a Hungarian air force aircraft maintainer the nose landing gear on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during the Load Diffuser Exercise April 26, 2010, in Kecskemet, Hungary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tina Maddock)
By Staff Sgt. Tina Maddock, Ohio National Guard 

KECSKEMET, Hungary - About 100 members of the Ohio Air National Guard's 178th Fighter Wing from Springfield, Ohio, deployed here April 22-27 to support Load Diffuser 2010, a joint exercise with the Hungarian Joint Force Command.

The exercise aims to sharpen the combat capabilities of the participating forces, Guard officials said.

Air Force pilots and Hungarian air force pilots are training together in air-to-air combat scenarios using the Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, Hungarian air force JAS-39 Gripen, MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Mi-24 Hind aircraft.

"It is one of the few training opportunities (the Hungarian air force) have to fly against a larger formation," said Lt. Col. Nathan Thomas, the exercise's project officer. "It is to help improve their skills and a way to improve ours."

U.S. Air Force and Hungarian air force pilots are working with the Hungarian joint terminal air controllers to direct aircraft against simulated ground targets, Thomas said. The Hungarian JTACs were trained in the United States.

The Hungarian Mi-24 helicopters are working with the U.S. and Hungarian airmen to conduct ground-base air defense exercises, Thomas said.

In addition to practicing air combat maneuvers against the F-16, Hungarian airmen are training to work with the F-16. Airmen from the 178th FW are educating aircraft maintainers from the Hungarian air force on F-16 maintenance operation.

The exercise is scheduled to last two weeks.

Ohio and Hungary are also joined by the National Guard's State Partnership Program.

5/5/2010