Military News

Monday, June 08, 2015

US delivers airpower in Baltic exercise

by Capt Chase P. McFarland

6/8/2015 - ADAZI TRAINING AREA, Latvia -- About 6,000 personnel from 13 countries, including the United States, are participating in the Saber Strike 15 exercise taking place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, June 8 through 19.

Saber Strike is a long-standing U.S Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise conducted annually since 2010. The aim of the exercise is to improve the cooperation and capabilities of the participating nations for future contingency operations.  This year's exercise objectives facilitate cooperation among Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The U.S. Air Force plays a critical role by providing aerial refueling, aerial port support capabilities, joint tactical air control, personnel and equipment airlift, and close air support to U.S. and partner nation ground forces while demonstrating air deployment of forces and equipment.

"Saber Strike is a great opportunity to showcase and foster our interoperability between ally and partner nations," said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. "Combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with our allies and partners demonstrate that we share a commitment to promoting a Europe that is whole, free and at peace."

U.S. Air Force capabilities in the exercise include KC-135 Stratotankers from the Michigan Air National Guard, the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserves out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina; F-16 Fighting Falcons from the South Carolina Air National Guard; A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the Maryland Air National Guard; B-52 Stratofortresses from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Additional support is provided by the 435th Contingency Response Group and the 435th Air-Ground Operations Wing from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

"Maintaining a forward, ready presence in Europe is critical to assuring our allies and to deter real and potential adversaries," said Gorenc. "We are only able to maintain this global presence through total force cooperation with our National Guard and Air Force Reserve partners."

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