PLOVDIV, Bulgaria --
Three U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules and approximately
70 support personnel from the 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed
to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, July 10, to participate in exercise Thracian Summer 2016.
During the two-week forward training deployment (FTD), the
37th Airlift Squadron are conducting tactical flight training which include low-level flights, airdrop training
with partnered forces and other related training events. The evolutions help
preserve joint readiness, build interoperability and strengthen relationships
with our NATO allies.
“It's an incredible display of the work ethic and drive
of our Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Scott, 37th AS pilot. “It
is imperative to be able to integrate with multiple agencies within the
[European Command} and operate in a moment's notice with our NATO partners.”
strengthened relationships and consistent training exercises with our Allies
and partners, the U.S. demonstrates its shared commitment to a safe and secure
Europe. These off-station training events improve interoperability with
international partners to ensure that we train like we fight when and if called
upon to do so in the future.
forward training deployment is a tremendous opportunity for our Airmen to hone
their operational skills alongside NATO allies in a realistic training environment,”
said Lt. Gen. Timothy M. Ray is Commander, 3rd Air Force commander. “We train with our Allies and partners
every day because you cannot surge trust. You cannot just show up to the
championship game without hours on the practice field. Our allies and partners
offer unique capabilities, perspective and access to strategic locations.”
explained that this training not only allows partnered nations to gain trust
but also practice scenarios they would not normally face.
“Not only does this event provide
assurance to our allies in the region, but we're gaining excellent training in
executing our mission with the Bulgarian armed forces,” Scott explained. “Every
day, we're learning from each other in all aspects of combat operations, be it
in flight, airborne personnel training or ground support.”
This type of
FTD involves many aircrew members, but also many support personnel to keep all
of the parts moving.
“We rely so
much on others to help get us out the door and into the air,” said Staff Sgt.
Toni Odom, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Thracian Summer ramp
coordinator. “Before aircrews even step, there have been hours of work in place
to make everything run smoothly. From
the squadron aviation resource management flight; creating our flight
authorizations and dealing with last minute changes, to aircrew flight
equipment inspecting our night vision goggles and helmets, and of course
maintenance working around the clock to keep the airplanes healthy--it
definitely takes a village.”