353rd SOG & 40th SQDN host USEMB New Zealand

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Members of the 353rd Special Operations Group and Royal New Zealand Air Force 40th Squadron showcased the military cooperation efforts between the U.S. and New Zealand militaries during a visit by U.S. Embassy New Zealand’s Chargé d'Affaires and staffers, April 19-20, 2017 at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, New Zealand.

“One thing I’ve learned and pleased to hear is that collaboration with the RNZAF is going really well, that your group has found their skill level to be quite high and that your reception has been very warm,” said Ms. Candy Green, U.S. Embassy New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires. “The U.S. and New Zealand relationship has never been stronger and broader, and one aspect of that is the ever increasing military collaboration. Something like this exercise today and what your group and others have done contributes greatly to that.”

The air commandos provided observation flights on their MC-130H Combat Talon II and opportunities to engage with aircrew, maintenance and support personnel.

“It was great to have embassy folks come down during Exercise Teak Net and observe first-hand the training we are doing with our RNZAF partners,” said Maj. Mark Schmidt, mission commander for Exercise Teak Net. “A lot of the time they don’t know specifically how each military unit contributes to the mission, so it was great for them to learn about the specialized equipment on our MC-130s and extensive training that goes with it.”

Members of the 353rd SOG and 40th SQDN conducted the fourth iteration of Exercise Teak Net, April 15-18, 2017 at RNZAF Base Auckland and April 18-28, 2017 at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, New Zealand.

“It’s wonderful to hear you are carrying our objectives forward,” said Green. “That is to build those people to people relationships and institutional modes of collaboration that contribute to our relationship being the best it’s ever been.”

Exercise Teak Net is an annual joint, combined exchange training (JCET) focused on improving interoperability between the U.S. and New Zealand militaries.