Real Thaw Complete: Multinational exercise concludes in Portugal

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  • By HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

The Portuguese-led exercise, Real Thaw, concluded today after the successful integration from NATO coalition forces during the two-week long mission at Beja Air Base, Portugal.

U.S. participation in the exercise involved F-16 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base’s 480th Fighter Squadron, and KC-135 Stratotankers from RAF Mildenhall’s 351st Air Refueling Squadron.

“This training is integral to maintaining joint readiness, building interoperability, and strengthening relationships with our NATO Allies,” Said Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA and NATO Allied Air Command. “We look forward to future participation in Ally-led events, showcasing the strength in our alliance”

The combined capabilities of U.S. assets integrated with assets from Portugal, Belgium, France, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, and other combined NATO units.

Throughout the exercise participating units executed a range of tactical training such as air-to-air and air-to-ground training, tactical air transport operations, Close Air Support, Special Operations Aviation, Medical Evacuation, and Joint Terminal Attack Controller training.

Continuing U.S. contributions to develop and improve air readiness are significant to maintaining security and building partnership capacity between NATO Allies.

Coverage of Real Thaw is available on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service at:

For any questions related to U.S. Real Thaw operations please contact USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs at +49 06371-47-6558 or email or