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Ukraine Officials Observe As Airmen Train for MAFFS Mission

An official from the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine presents Lt. Col. Mark Christan with shoulder boards of Ukrainian rank equivalent to Lt. Col. during the MAFFS training exercise in Greenville, SC. NCANG Photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Kerner.

An official from the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine presents Lt. Col. Mark Christan with shoulder boards of Ukrainian rank equivalent to Lt. Col. during the MAFFS training exercise in Greenville, SC. NCANG Photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Kerner.

Col. Kozyrkov Ihor and colleague from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine present North Carolina Air National Guard pilots Lt. Col. Mark Christan and Capt. Joel Kingdon with a bottle of specialty vodka, officer shoulder boards and a patch in appreciation of their flying skills demonstrated while observing a MAFFS drop from the ground during  the MAFFS training exercise in Greenville, SC. NCANG Photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Kerner.

Col. Kozyrkov Ihor and colleague from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine present North Carolina Air National Guard pilots Lt. Col. Mark Christan and Capt. Joel Kingdon with a bottle of specialty vodka, officer shoulder boards and a patch in appreciation of their flying skills demonstrated while observing a MAFFS drop from the ground during the MAFFS training exercise in Greenville, SC. NCANG Photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Kerner.

Greenville, S.C. -- Military and civilian officials from Ukraine are observing airmen from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves training for use of the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System at the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center in Greenville, S.C., this week.

The Ministry of Defense of the Ukraine sent two representatives from Joint Operations Command interested in the relationship of military, government and civilian agencies and the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine has two pilots and one search and rescue specialist here to document firefighting methods with the MAFFS equipped aircraft.

"We are very interested in the coordination and cooperation of military, government and civilian agencies. We are eager to bring the lessons we have learned here today back home to help with our humanitarian efforts," said Col. Kozyrkov Ihor of the Ministry of Defense of the Ukraine.

The National Interagency Fire Center headquartered in Boise, Idaho, combines military units with state and federal forestry and fire protection services to supplement commercial efforts in the annual struggle to contain large unwanted wildfires.

The four U.S. military units assigned and equipped to execute the MAFFS missions are three National Guard units comprised of the 145th AW from Charlotte, N.C., 146th AW from Channel Islands, Calif., 153rd AW from Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Air Force Reserve's 302nd AW out of Colorado Springs.

MAFFS uses C-130 aircraft are used to drop fire retardant, as ground crews require additional assistance in creating line to slow the fires progression.

"The Ukraine began fighting forest fires with aircraft three years ago and we are here to learn new ways to use our assets in fighting forest fires. The experiences we are gaining concerning fighting forest fires are very important to us and our country and will continue to be used for a long time," said Zolokotskyi Andrii, a search and rescue specialist with the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine.