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Members of the 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano AB, Italy, and the US Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade joined forces for the first joint-service combat search and rescue training at the Cellina Meduna training grounds near Maniago, Italy. Christopher Potter, 31st Fighter Wing air battle planner, said the Army "originally approached us about using our base for training," according to a Feb. 13 release. Having the Army Blackhawks offered the "perfect opportunity to practice our personnel recovery operations," he added. Aviano-based F-16s flew as low as 1,000 feet to cover extraction of down aircrew, realistically simulating the sort of "semi-permissive" environment often faced by aircrew today, he noted. "We attempt to create as secure of an environment as possible using our available assets so that we can safely get a recovery team in," said 31st FW survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist SSgt. Claude Brown. The two-week exercise ended Feb. 11.