by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/11/2015 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander spoke to U.S.
and Bulgarian Airmen and local community leaders about the U.S. Air
Force's first European Theater Security Package of F-15C Eagles deployed
to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, welcomed the
approximately 200 Airmen of the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to
"These 200 Airmen and 12 F-15s led by the Florida National Guard and
comprised of Airmen and equipment from several National Guard units
provide a strategic symbol as they represent the United States'
commitment to European security and stability," said Gorenc.
The squadron will fly with NATO allies and support Operation Atlantic
Resolve. OAR is a demonstration of U.S. European Command and
USAFE-AFAFRICA's continued commitment to the collective security of
Europe and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.
"The mission of the Bulgarian Air Force is to guard and protect the
sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace," Gorenc said. "The men and women of
this TSP look forward to working with you to further our collective
Gorenc explained, "The U.S. Air Force's forward presence in Europe,
augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our
allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining
While this is the first time the ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP,
these types of deployments are not new to the Air Force. Fighter
squadrons have been deploying like this to the Pacific since 2004.
"We know how much effort and resources it takes to be deployed here,"
said Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander. "I want to
thank the U.S. Air Force command represented by Gen. Gorenc, because you
are here again and our joint training continues. If the Bulgarian Air
Force is an inseparable part from the alliance today, it is to a great
extent because of these trainings."
The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonville, Fla.,
leads this first ANG theater security package to deploy in support of
OAR. The aircraft and Airmen are based out of units in Florida, Oregon,
California, Massachusetts and various bases throughout Europe.
Regardless of their origin, together, they make up the 159th EFS.