U.S. Ambassador to Israel visits Blue Flag

Uvda Air Force Base, Israel -- The U.S. Ambassador to Israel visited the Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Force Base, Israel, Oct. 26.

Ambassador Daniel Shapiro arrived in Uvda to observe U.S. participation in the multinational exercise, which included air forces from Israel, Greece, Poland and the U.S.

Blue Flag, modeled after the Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, allows Airmen from ally nations to train together in realistic war scenarios to build partnerships and increase interoperability.

"Every time the United States military and the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) train together, we learn how to operate together more effectively and observe the techniques that each military uses while deepening the relationships and the support we have for each other," Ambassador Shapiro said. "That's a very important function for strengthening the military alliance between the United States and Israel."

Ambassador Shapiro met with Lt. Col. John Stratton, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, and thanked Airmen from the 493rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, for their participation in this year's exercise.

"I'm incredibly proud that U.S. Air Force pilots are here training with their Israeli counterparts to learn from each other and deepen their relationships, to learn how to operate together against common adversaries and ultimately, to strengthen the alliance between our countries," Ambassador Shapiro said. "I don't think it happens anywhere as well as it happens when our militaries train together."