Military News

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Flying Tigers land in Estonia

by Andrea Jenkins
23d Wing Public Affairs

9/22/2015 - AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia -- Twelve A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and approximately 350 Airmen from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived at Amari Air Base, Estonia September 21, as part of a theater security package deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The Airmen and aircraft, deployed from the 23d Wing out of Moody Air Force Base, Ga., will augment the U.S. Air Forces in Europe's existing efforts as part of OAR to conduct training with NATO allies to further develop interoperability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe.

"This deployment represents something greater than just Moody," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan France, 74th EFS commander. "It is an opportunity for us to represent not only Moody, but the United States Air Force, and it's a chance to come together and work with our NATO partners to strengthen our alliances."

The benefits to training with our NATO allies are astronomical," added France. "It's a very difficult piece ... to be able to communicate effectively with one another on the battlefield and in the battle space so being here in Eastern Europe to train alongside those military partners will enable us to better operate on the battlefield together. It also allows us to learn from each other which better prepares us to operate together in the future."

During the six month deployment, the 74th EFS Airmen will not only conduct routine flying training but will participate in several exercises and training events with NATO allies and European partners.

"We hope to learn as much as we can," said Estonian Air Force Lt. Col. Ular Lohmas, Amari Air Base commander. "Amari is a very young air base and (the Americans) bring a lot of experience so we can learn new procedures. I hope they learn a little from us too."

Both Lohmas and France agreed training opportunities like these are win-win for all involved.

"This is a great opportunity for our pilots, maintainers and support Airmen," said France. "Both the United States Air Force and the Estonian Air Force will gain tremendous benefits. It's really a synergistic relationship that we gain when we are able to operate out of an airfield in a foreign country with our allies. We will be able to brief, execute, debrief together  and learn those lessons and turn around and reapply them the next day."

This TSP deployment is a first for Moody's A-10s and adds another chapter to the legacy of the historic Flying Tigers.

"The Flying Tigers have a very rich history of working with coalition partners and nations that dates back to 1941 and we are going to be able to further that heritage here over the next six months. Honestly, I could not be more proud and excited to lead these Flying Tiger Airmen during our first TSP deployment."

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