AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia --
The 100th Air Refueling Wing deployed KC-135 Stratotankers to Amari Air Base, Estonia, Nov. 1, 2018.
Along the way, the tankers refueled F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath and flew in formation with the fighters.
Airmen assigned to RAF Mildenhall prepared for the upcoming deployment on home territory with a weeklong mission assurance exercise to test how quickly an entire wing can mobilize tankers and gather personnel to deploy at a moment’s notice.
“The most unique aspect of the exercise was the incorporation of forward movement to an airfield that we don’t typically operate out of, on such a fast timeline,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Chamberlin, 351st Air Refueling Squadron instructor pilot. “The team came together by pitching in and doing their part. Everyone gave their maximum effort to perform the mission by going above and beyond.”
The wing did their collective part to get the KC-135s, Airmen and equipment out of RAF Mildenhall. Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Inspector General staff observed the exercise and found zero discrepancies with the Bloody Hundredth’s operations.
“It is truly a testament to our wing’s undeniable strive for excellence,” said Col. Cassius Bentley, 100th ARW vice commander. “We have turned our readiness programs into real and actionable mission accomplishment in Europe and Africa, and we are prepared to answer the call at any time.”
After the KC-135 landed at Amari Air Base, the Strike Eagles landed to test the airfield’s BAK-14 cable arresting system, which was paid for with FY16 European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) funding. The BAK-14 cable arresting system safely brings fighter aircraft to a stop in the event of an emergency.
Activities funded through EDI increase the capability and readiness of U.S. forces allowing for a faster response in the event of any aggression by a regional adversary against the sovereign territory of a NATO ally.
Estonia is a key NATO ally in Europe and a strong U.S. partner bent on fostering security and prosperity. Continual interaction between the U.S. and Estonia strengthens overall coordination during times of crisis and security threats.