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U.S., Bangladesh air forces celebrate partnership during Exercise Cope South 2022 opening ceremony

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and Bangladesh air force (BAF) members celebrated the kick-off of Exercise Cope South 2022 during an opening ceremony, Feb. 19, 2022.

Exercise Cope South is a bi-annual Pacific Air Forces-sponsored bilateral tactical airlift exercise that provides an opportunity for U.S. and Bangladesh forces to train together to strengthen partnerships and enhance interoperability.

During the ceremony’s opening remarks, Bangladesh Air Force Air Vice Marshal Hasan Mahmood Khan, delivered a speech emphasizing the importance of the U.S. Air Force and BAF partnership.

“This is a very instrumental exercise for Bangladesh armed forces, by which, definitely over the years gained a lot of professional competency,” said Hasan. “Since this exercise has been conducted, for the last 27 years, it has benefited the Bangladesh Armed Forces, especially the Bangladesh Air Force, through developing interoperability between the air forces.”

Lt. Col. Kira Coffey, 36th EAS  commander, told a personal story to exercise participants during the ceremony, highlighting commonalities between her and a BAF officer she spoke with prior to the ceremony.

“I was talking to an impressive young officer last night, Flight Lieutenant Sajid, and we talked about why we put on the military uniform … about how there are many reason we put on the military uniform,” said Coffey. “But one thing that is common among most of us, is that we do it because we believe there is a cause bigger than ourselves worth serving. Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief is a capability and [greater cause] that we share with Bangladesh. We look forward to conducting valuable tactical airlift training and learning from each other so that we can not just be better, but be better together.” 

U.S. and Bangladesh forces concluded the ceremony with refreshments and group photo, marking the start of Exercise Cope South 2022.

“I wish our guests from the United States of America will have a pleasant stay at Bangladesh and will enjoy the warm hospitality of the Bangladesh people,” said Hasan. “I wish all of you a safe and eventful exercise Cope South 2022 in the forthcoming week. Best wishes to all of you and happy landings.” 

More than 70 U.S. Air Force Airmen, one U.S. Space Force Guardian and approximately 300 BAF personnel, share best practices and complete combined training objectives during the weeklong exercise. 

Exercise Cope South 2022 is intended to exercise participant tasks, evaluate proficiency and identify future training and other actions that enhance partnership capability between U.S. and Bangladesh forces.