Military News

Friday, August 07, 2015

Theater security package A-10s transit Lajes

by 1st Lt. Alexandra Trobe
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/7/2015 - LAJES FIELD, Azores, Portugal -- Twelve A-10 Thunderbolt IIs transited Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, after completing their theater security package mission in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve August 1 though 3.

The jets flew in as part of a coronet, a term Lajes Field uses to describe the movement of jets coming in, refueling and departing the island.

The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's 12 A-10's and approximately 300 Airmen conducted training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. The A-10s and Airmen are returning home to the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

"This is the first A-10 TSP we've conducted in Europe," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde, 354th EFS commander. "This deployment gave us the ability to train with NATO allies we otherwise would never have had the opportunity to work with."

While deployed, the 354th EFS participated in 21 exercises, compiling more than 1,500 sorties and nearly 2,700 flight hours while engaging with 22 countries.

"The biggest thing about training with our NATO Allies is showing interoperability," said Hayde. "NATO operates under its own close air support standards, and as part of this training we were able to conduct coordination with our allies. This ensures that if we ever have to deploy with these NATO countries, we're all on the same page."

In their capstone event in Poland, the 354th EFS trained their entire squadron on unimproved surface landings in conjunction with the 321st Special Tactics Squadron, RAF Mildenhall and Polish Special Forces. Combat controllers provide Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control and communications in covert or austere environments.

This was the first type of training between these two NATO allies. Without the strategic access provided by the infrastructure, support and host nation relationships at U.S. and host nation installations, these TSP deployments would not be possible.

"As my first deployment, it was a great experience getting to work with different countries, and getting to see how our European allies train and fight," said Capt. Travis Vayda, 354th EFS scheduler. "This TSP gave us a chance to see a different way of doing things, and find better ways to integrate with our allies."

The A-10 TSP redeployment coronet is Vayda's second time at Lajes Field, passing through once before on his way downrange.

"I would definitely say I got the family treatment coming through Lajes," said Vayda.

The Lajes Field flightline is utilized regularly by U.S., Portuguese and third nation military and commercial aircraft. Due to its strategic location and as the Air Force's second largest fuel store, the 65th Air Base Wing is uniquely positioned to provide agile combat support and services to aircraft and aircrews.

"Our Operations Support Squadron's primary mission is to provide first class support for the coronets," said Maj. Lindsey Bauer, 65 OSS operations officer.  "It is an exciting mission because it involves every single one of our shops, teamwork is essential to make it all happen."

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