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US, Romanian exercise comes to a close
Capt. Whit Collins, 510th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, prepares for his flight at Campia Turzii, Romania, April 16, 2014. Six F-16s from Aviano Air Base, Italy, arrived at Campia Turzii for Exercise Dacian Viper 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann)
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US, Romanian exercise comes to a close

Posted 4/19/2014   Updated 4/19/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/19/2014 - CAMPIA TURZII, Romania  -- The week-long bilateral training exercise between the U.S. and Romanian air forces concluded at the 71st Air Base, Campia Turzii, Romania, April 17, 2014.

The exercise, which began April 10, enhanced interoperability and readiness between the NATO partners through combined air operations between F-16 Fighting Falcons from Aviano Air Base, Italy, and MiG-21 Lancers from the 71st AB.

"Combined training with Romania demonstrates that we share a commitment to promote a peaceful and stable Europe," said Lt. Col. Douglas Hellinger, 510th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and project officer for the exercise. "This exercise increased the level of cooperation between our militaries."

U.S. and Romanian Airmen joined together in a formation during a closing ceremony held at the base, which demonstrated the partnership built during the exercise.

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was also in attendance.

"We welcome your friendship," he said to the U.S. Air Force Airmen in attendance. "I came here today to praise this exercise and the importance of our partnership. Romania understands how impactful it is to us to be a partner of the U.S."

At the ceremony, Ponta took the opportunity to discuss the benefits of the F-16, which he had the unique opportunity to co-pilot just moments before.

"I came to see the capability of the F-16 as a buyer of this unbelievable technology," Ponta said. "The F-16 is impressive. I feel safe in the F-16 and will feel even safer come 2017."

Romania recently signed a contract to acquire F-16s from Portugal within the next few years, a step forward in military capability.

"It proves that our security future can be relied on," Ponta concluded.

The exercise marked the first time Team Aviano Airmen have partnered with the Romanian air force.



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