U.S. Air Force deploys to Romania, improves capabilities, relationships in region

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kyle Cope
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen from Aviano, Mildenhall, Ramstein and Spangdahlem Air Bases, deployed to the 71st Air Base, Campia Turzii, Romania, in support of exercise Dacian Reaper, Jan. 10, 2020.

The Airmen deployed with MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of U.S. foreign policy security objectives and those of U.S. regional partners.

“Since Romania joined NATO in 2004, together we have made contributions that will keep this region safe in the face of new threats,” said Adrian Zuckerman, U.S. Ambassador to Romania. “One such contribution is the deployment of the MQ-9 Reaper, one of our most versatile unmanned aerial vehicles with the capability to monitor and understand the rapidly changing operational environment of the region.”

Romanian Lt. Gen. Daniel Petrescu, the chief of defense of Romania, emphasized the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Romania remains the same.

  “We are very determined to this for the benefit of both our countries,” said Petrescu. “The U.S. presence in Romania complements the allied forward presence in this part of the globe.”

The strong partnership between the U.S. and Romania was built through previous joint efforts.

“What you see here today is a key example of the strong security partnership between the United States and Romania,” Zuckerman said. “A partnership that began nearly 20 years ago, when Romania, after emerging from the dark days of communism, and prior to joining NATO, stood by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we worked together and sacrificed together to defeat those who would take away our freedom.”

The deployment provided the U.S. the opportunity to test new abilities and build relationships.

“The purpose of moving the MQ-9 Reaper is to continue collecting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the joint force,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Koscheski, director of operations, United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa. “We are out here for developing the ability to move to different bases quickly and have the infrastructure in place to do so. The U.S. and Romania enjoy a close military-to-military relationship with NATO allies and cooperate on numerous regional security issues.”

Additionally, the MQ-9 presence assists Romanian air force members in their daily missions.

“We look to develop all kinds of relationships along our mission sphere,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Omar Rashid, MQ-9 requirements subjects matter expert. “The 71st AB has quite a few different missions, everything from combat search and rescue, to domestic operations close to the sea in defense. Imagine if you had eyes in the sky that could see everything on the ground from far away and then we can share our video feed with our partners.”

The benefits of deployments such as this one extend beyond capabilities and improved skills.

“Beyond the opportunity of practicing tactics, techniques and procedures, more important for us and for the American party, the bond we managed to build between our air forces,” said Romanian air force Col. Marius Oatu, 71st AB commander. “I can say that we developed a very strong friendship.”