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U.S., Ukrainian airmen come together at Clear Sky cultural day

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen taking part in Clear Sky 2018 visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2018, as part of the exercise’s cultural day activities. The fortress started as a wooden castle in the year 1146 and served as a bulwark against the Ottoman expansion in the 1540s. Major restoration has been carried out on the fortress since 1968, and now a church and museum are included within its walls. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Chris Lowe)

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen taking part in Clear Sky 2018 visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2018, as part of the exercise’s cultural day activities. The fortress started as a wooden castle in the year 1146 and served as a bulwark against the Ottoman expansion in the 1540s. Major restoration has been carried out on the fortress since 1968, and now a church and museum are included within its walls. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Chris Lowe)

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen taking part in Clear Sky 2018 visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2018, as part of the exercise’s cultural day activities. The visit was an opportunity for the exercise hosts to share some local culture and history with their guests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen taking part in Clear Sky 2018 visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2018, as part of the exercise’s cultural day activities. The visit was an opportunity for the exercise hosts to share some local culture and history with their guests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

The Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine started as a wooden castle in the year 1146 and served as a bulwark against the Ottoman expansion in the 1540s. U.S. and Ukrainian airmen visited the fortress as part of cultural day activities during Clear Sky 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

The Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine started as a wooden castle in the year 1146 and served as a bulwark against the Ottoman expansion in the 1540s. U.S. and Ukrainian airmen visited the fortress as part of cultural day activities during Clear Sky 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine as part of cultural day activities on Oct. 14, 2018, which included sampling traditional Ukrainian cuisine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

U.S. and Ukrainian airmen visited the Medzhybiz Fortress in Ukraine as part of cultural day activities on Oct. 14, 2018, which included sampling traditional Ukrainian cuisine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Tristan Hinderliter)

STAROKOSTIANTYNIV AIR BASE, Ukraine -- U.S. Airmen taking part in Clear Sky 2018 here were treated to an inside look at the early history of Ukraine, visiting the historic Medzhybiz Fortress near the base along with their Ukrainian counterparts.

The Airmen took part in a tour of the fortress together and sampled traditional Ukrainian cuisine in the courtyard.

“We know the exercise participants are coming from different countries, and we wanted to introduce them to this beautiful place,” said Ukrainian air force Senior Lieutenant Aleksey Vinckovskiy, who organized the visit as part of cultural day activities. “We wanted to share our culture and show our visitors some landmarks in the local area.”

The fortress started as a wooden castle in the year 1146 and served as a bulwark against the Ottoman expansion in the 1540s. Major restoration has been carried out on the fortress since 1968, and now a church and museum are included within its walls.

One of the U.S. exercise participants who participated in the tour was Maj. Robert Moors, 163rd Operational Support Squadron director of operations at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. At Clear Sky, Moors is the MQ-9 Reaper lead, planning and coordinating training missions of the remotely piloted aircraft from Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland, to training ranges in Ukraine.

"Our tour guide presented us with an eye-opening account of the conflicts endured since the castle’s construction centuries ago,” he said. "It truly gives us, as military members, a great understanding of the struggles of those who fought in this region over the past centuries, as well as the great pride of the now free and independent Ukrainian people.”

Clear Sky began Oct. 8 and is now continuing into its final week. The multinational exercise involves personnel from nine countries and focuses on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery.

The exercise aims to enhance regional security by bolstering interoperability and cooperation between NATO allies and other partners in the region.