y Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
6/9/2015 - POWIDZ, Poland -- The
U.S. Air Force, along with its Polish counterparts officially
kicked-off Powidz Air Base's portion of Baltic Operations 2015 with the
first KC-135 Stratotanker flight from the 507th Air Refueling Wing June
In its 43rd iteration, BALTOPS is a multinational maritime exercise in
Poland, Sweden, Germany, and throughout the Baltic Sea, including
participation from 14 NATO and three partner nations June 5-20.
"This is the 43rd year of BALTOPS, and is one of the largest ever," said
Vice Adm. James Foggo III, commander U.S. 6th Fleet. "During BALTOPS,
we will focus on enhancing flexibility and interoperability, while
demonstrating resolve of our allied and partner forces to maintain the
security of the Baltic region."
The U.S., NATO and partner nations sent 49 ships, 61 aircraft, one
submarine, and approximately 5,600 Sailors, Marines, airmen, and
soldiers to employ land, air, sea and undersea capabilities.
As part of BALTOPS 2015, the U.S. Air Force deployed four KC-135s to
Poland from the 100th, 916th and 507th air refueling wings, as well as
14 F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 480th and 157th fighter squadrons, and
three B-52 Stratofortress' from the 5th Bomb Wing.
"Exercises such as BALTOPS really allow us to test and practice all of
our capabilities," said Master Sgt. Larry Nahalea, Powidz deployed
operations superintendent. "It also allows us to work with our NATO
allies while gaining an understanding on how our multinational partners
While supporting BALTOPS, participating forces will conduct training
across a broad spectrum of areas including air defense, maritime
interdiction, anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations.
Participating nations include Norway, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Canada,
France, Denmark, Georgia, Estonia, Finland, Turkey, Belgium, Sweden, the
United Kingdom, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and the United States.
BALTOPS is about maintaining NATO's and its partner's common interests.
"NATO and our partners share a common interest in maintaining a Europe
and Baltic region that is safe, secure and prosperous," Foggo said.
"BALTOPS exercises have resulted in great success, and have created a
foundation for the strong relationships we share with the Baltic
Along with BALTOPS 2015, the U.S. Air Force is also participating in U.S
Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise Saber Strike 2015 and
Polish-led combined exercise EAGLE TALON in the Baltic Region, all of
which are supported by the Aviation Detachment located at Lask and
Powidz air bases in Poland.
"Our 17-nation force is a testament to our collective commitment to
regional stability," Foggo said. "For those nations not participating,
we have, will, and continue to respect their sovereignty, their fleets,
and their commanders. We will conduct our operations in a respectful and
professional manner throughout this exercise. We expect the same from