Being an exchange pilot, showing the US flag in the cockpit of F-16CM Fighting Falcon 91-0345/SW as courtesy, Royal Netherlands Air Force Weapons Instructor pilot "Turbo" is flying his second tour in less than two years time in and over the Middle East with the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (77th EFS) Gamblers.
Normally based at Shaw AFB (SC), the 77th Fighter Squadron (now being Expeditionary), makes good use of "Turbo". As part of the Foreign Exchange Officer (FEO) programme, the Dutch instructor pilot flies with the Gamblers to support Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) as the 77th EFS director of operations.
The exchange programme is an interesting one because the Dutch and US relationship has been very strong since the end of the Second World War. In the last 30 to 35 years, there has been a bi-lateral exchange programme where a US Weapons Instructor goes to the Netherlands and supports the Dutch Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) with all their experience from the US perspective. Then, a Dutch Weapons Instructor goes to the US to get a good understanding of the USAF.
With the current diminishing of the F-16 fleet and soon the expectation of a sole Dutch F-35A Lightning II only operated fleet it is expected that there will be an exchange programme regarding the latter aircraft as well.
Photo via USAF