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Airmen participate in joint exercises in Poland, Baltic nations

Jun. 10, 2014 - 09:23PM   |  
A U.S. Air Force convoy drives through a village on the route to Powidz Air Base, Poland, on June 2. The 45 vehicles from the 606th Air Control Squadron of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, carried nearly 90 U.S. airmen to provide ground-to-air communication to NATO air assets training during Poland's Exercise Eagle Talon and U.S. Aviation Detachment Rotation 14-3.
A U.S. Air Force convoy drives through a village on the route to Powidz Air Base, Poland, on June 2. The 45 vehicles from the 606th Air Control Squadron of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, carried nearly 90 U.S. airmen to provide ground-to-air communication to NATO air assets training during Poland's Exercise Eagle Talon and U.S. Aviation Detachment Rotation 14-3. (Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese/Air Force)
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A U.S. Air Force F-16 connects to the boom of KC-135 during the Baltic Operations Exercise June 9 over the Baltic Sea. For BALTOPS, the U.S. Air Force is providing fighter aircraft for maritime interdiction and air combat training, as well as air refueling support. (Airman 1st Class Kyla Gifford/Air Force)

Airmen are participating in four joint combat training exercises underway in Poland and the Baltic states — one week after President Obama called for Congress to approve a $1 billion plan to boost a U.S. troops’ rotational presence and further reassure Eastern European partners of “America’s unshakeable commitment” to its NATO allies.

The Air Force is providing fighter aircraft for Exercise Baltic Operations, or BALTOPS 2014, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Baltic Sea.

The annual U.S. Navy-led exercise, which began Monday, involves military forces from 12 countries and NATO. The Air Force fighters are providing “maritime interdiction, air-refueling support and other air combat training missions,” according to a USAFE-AFAFRICA news release.

Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron and 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and the 100th Air Refueling Wing, from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, are participating in BALTOPS as well as Eagle Talon, a Polish national air exercise aimed to increase interoperability with air-to-air and air-to-surface training, said 52nd Fighter Wing spokesman 2nd Lt. Katrina Cheesman. About 90 U.S. airmen are providing ground-to-air communications for Eagle Talon — U.S., French, British and NATO aircraft are participating in the exercise out of Powidz Air Base, Poland.

Simultaneously, the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland is hosting “Av-Det Rotation 14-3” at Lask Air Base, the third theater security cooperation event this year, Cheesman said. Nearly 300 personnel and 18 F-16 fighter aircraft from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem, are participating in addition to airmen from the 606th ACS and 100th ARW.

U.S. Army Europe-led exercise Saber Strike 2014 is also ongoing in multiple locations in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, with approximately 4,500 personnel and 10 NATO and partner countries participating. U.S. Air Forces Europe personnel from the 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are providing aerial port capabilities, and the 435th Air-Ground Operations Wing and the 37th Airlift Squadron, also from Ramstein, are forward deploying forces and equipment by C-130, according to an Army news release. In addition to airmen from the 606th ACS and 100th ARW, the Minnesota Air National Guard is providing F-16 close air support aircraft, and the Michigan and Pennsylvania Air National Guard are supporting with KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft.

All exercises are set to conclude next week, except for Eagle Talon, which will conclude Friday.

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