U.S. and Romanian air forces cement alliance

  • Published
  • By SSgt. Savannah L. Waters
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason Bailey, the 31st Fighter Wing Commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Newman, the 31st FW Command Chief, visited Campia Turzii, Romania, Feb. 3-4, to meet with Romanian air force leadership and key defense leaders in the region. 


The U.S. Air Force recently deployed MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and approximately 90 Airmen to the 71st Air Base in Romania to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of NATO operations. During their visit, 31st FW leadership discussed the Romanian air force, the U.S. and Romanian partnership, base capabilities and bilateral infrastructure development in Campia Turzii.


“Thank you [Romanian air force Col. Marius Oatu, 71st Air Base commander] and your team for your hospitality during our visit and for all your support for the MQ-9 operations flying out of the 71st Air Base,” Bailey said. “We will continue to cultivate our partnership through our commitment to regional security and territorial integrity while simultaneously increasing the capability, readiness and responsiveness of the alliance’s forces.” 


During his remarks, Bailey explained that the U.S. Air Force’s ability to launch and recover MQ-9 aircraft from the new location would not be possible without the support and commitment of the men and women of the Romanian air force who serve alongside their U.S. counterparts. He expressed his gratitude for Romania’s commitment to the NATO alliance and, particularly, for their support at the 71st Air Base. 


“I’d also like to thank Maj. Gen. Viorel Pana (Romanian air force chief of staff), the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, David Muniz, and the Romanian media for coming out to celebrate the great working relationship our countries share,” he said.


In addition to exercising ISR capabilities, the MQ-9s are supporting cold weather operations, employing Agile Combat Employment concepts, flying freedom of maneuver missions to test new airspace access and participating in exercises that ensure interoperability with allied and partner nations.


“We hope this deployment is the start of an enduring presence in Romania,” said David Muniz, U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Romania. “Forward presence is the bedrock of our ability to protect our allies, respond to threats, ensure support to global operations and to remind our enemies, current and future, that we are in this together.”


Forward locations like the 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii enable collective defense capabilities and provide the U.S. and NATO the strategic and operational breadth needed to deter our adversaries and assure our allies and partners.


Funding from the European Deterrence Initiative allows movements like this throughout Europe that enhance our deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. allies and partners.