Reservists trade places across pond
By Staff Sgt. Corban D. Lundborg, 934th Airlift Wing
/ Published August 09, 2016
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. -- Tech. Sgt. Amy Yanta, a flight medic from the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, was selected to be “sent across the pond” to participate in the Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP). The United States Air Force and Great Britain’s Royal Air Force are currently swapping Reservists, a first for the U.S. Air Force.
The MREP program offers Reserve Airmen a chance to exchange with foreign allied governments when mobilization requirements allow, a program that the British Army Reserve initiated 25 years ago.
Currently, Royal Air Force Sgt. Anthony Sanders, a flight medic assigned to the 612 Royal Air Force Reserve, is the Airman working at the 934 AW with Sergeant Yanta. They will return to the United Kingdom and continue to train together in a Royal Air Force Reserve unit.
“The benefits of training together is we are able to utilize each other’s programs and processes to benefit our own,” said Yanta. “Our missions are very similar but our practices may be different.”
Both Yanta and Sanders agreed their goals for this exchange are similar.
“Our goal here is to learn our allies training methods, medical procedures and equipment, so when we deploy we can have an understanding of how each others units train and operate,” said Yanta.
The United States and British militaries work side-by-side often and an exchange of this nature will allow for Airmen to get acquainted with each other, and learn more about not only the military contrast but also the cultural differences.
“The benefit about training here is you get to put theory into practice,” said Sanders. “The American’s have been nice, the people are so friendly and open to teaching, and willing to facilitate anything I want to learn, which is good.”
Sanders said, this program encourages interactions between the two militaries, an important aspect in international relations.
“Our big picture as Reservists is to make our units and leadership aware of this opportunity so the program may grow,” said Yanta. “We would like to have other international militaries participate.”
Since Yanta and Sanders are the first British-American Reserve exchanges, they will be paving the way for our Air Forces and the exchanges to come. The two agreed they would like to see more opportunities like this, and across multiple career fields.