First ever Inter-European Air Forces Academy course begins in Bulgaria Published Nov. 12, 2015 By Mr. Scott Sheridan Inter-European Air Force Acadmy Program Manager SOFIA, Bulgaria -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe started its first ever Inter-European Air Forces Academy course Nov. 2, 2015. IEAFA's mission is to provide education and training to Air Force personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. "IEAFA supports improved NATO coalition aviation operations through increased professional development of both combat and support forces," said Lt. Col. Chris Erickson, IEAFA Commandant. "The increased interaction at the junior officer and senior NCO level will dramatically increase and strengthen personal bonds of NATO airmen over time and this will promote improved relations at all levels of Allied Air Forces." Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force, Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, welcomed the first class of 23 students from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary. Senior leaders involved in the IEAFA program believe that, increasing our combined training through IEAFA will build future capabilities by developing the most important asset - people. "By training officers and non-commissioned officers from different nations in parallel, the new IEAFA program seeks to build trust between the ranks and among different nationalities," said Defense Attaché, Colonel James Crowhurst. He thanked the Inter-European Air Forces Academy leadership for hosting the course and their emphasis on developing officers and NCOs in their leadership roles. Erickson also stressed the importance of professional military education for the development of both officer and non-commissioned officers and how this five NATO nation training event provides a valuable opportunity for the US instructors to learn from Allied air force personnel. IEAFA will offer the full Squadron Officer School and NCOA courses starting in 2016 at its permanent classrooms near Ramstein AB in Germany.