by Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
U.S. Air Force in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs
6/14/2015 - RIGA, Latvia -- The
Airmen of the Maryland, Michigan and Pennsylvania Air National Guard
took to the skies with Latvian leaders June 10, 2015.
During exercise Saber Strike 15, DV and partnership days highlighted the
importance of airpower and the tools utilized to ensure that airpower
is available to those who need it. The exercise is designed to build
partnerships and support regional stability in the Baltics with 14
nations and 6,000 service members participating.
Airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the Air National Guard hosted
Latvian President Elect Raimonds Vējonis, Latvian Armed Forces generals,
and several local and national political leaders during the
Michigan-Latvian Partnership Day.
The partnership and distinguished visitor day gave the Air Force and
participants of Saber Strike 15 an opportunity to tell and show the work
that they are doing to the general public, elected representatives and
"Having them crawl (in the boom pod) and seeing the smiles on their face
just like if they were a kid at an airshow and asking the same
questions whether you are 5 years old or the president elect of Latvia
is amazing," said Master Sgt. Joseph M. Penta, 171st Airlift Squadron
boom operator. "You realize how great your job is when you have people
that important wanting to do it."
The KC-135 aircrew and maintainers provided the distinguished visitors
an insight as to how the KC-135 enables the A-10s, fighters, cargo and
bombers to stay on station longer and continue their mission.
"Its great for the young guys to get out there and meet these people and
show them what they do," said Senior Master Sgt. Birk Wolford, Michigan
Air National Guard. "Crew chiefs love showing how we make the mission
A day after the Partnership Day flight the visitors also witnessed what
the refuelers enable while visiting the Adazi Training Area range.
During a multinational offensive-defensive squad movement operations
exercise, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-130 Super Hercules and B-52
Stratofortress provided close air support and shows of force for ground
Saber Strike 15 is a multinational exercise designed to support the
stability of the Baltic region by building interoperability between
allie's ground and air assets to ensure seamless mission completion.
The visits provided up-close perspective to representatives from the
participating nations on how Saber Strike 15 enables interoperability
between the ally and partner nations and the importance of working
together in order to ensure regional security.