C-130s arrive in Lithuania for Swift Response 21

  • Published
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

U.S. Airmen and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island Air National Guard, arrived at Siauliai AB, Lithuania, on May 5, 2021, to provide airlift and airdrop during Swift Response 21.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 94th AW, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, and 133rd AW, Minnesota Air National Guard, will fly C-130H Hercules aircraft along with the 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minnesota, who will fly C-130H3 Hercules aircraft, also arrived at Siauliai AB to provide airlift and airdrop during Swift Response 21. 

The exercise is one of the premier military crisis response training events for multinational airborne forces in the world. It’s a U.S. Army Europe and Africa-directed exercise led by the U.S. Immediate Response Force, taking place at various locations in host nations Estonia, Bulgaria, and Romania, from May 1-14, 2021. Swift Response 21 is linked to DEFENDER-Europe 21, which is an annual large-scale U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led, multinational, joint exercise designed to build strategic and operational readiness and interoperability between U.S., NATO allies and partners.

Building on the success of last year, DEFENDER-Europe 21 includes a greater number of NATO ally and partner nations conducting activities over a wider area than what was planned for in 2020. More than 30,000 multinational forces from 27 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries.

Swift Response is designed to validate U.S. European Command’s ability to send readied forces into a designated area while advancing airborne interoperability among NATO allies, and will demonstrate the strategic employment of the Global Response Force. The GRC will conduct airborne strategic jumps, called Joint Forcible Entries, in Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania, with Estonia and Bulgaria being conducted during periods of darkness to seize key terrain. This year, multinational participation involves more than 7,000 troops from 11 countries.

Additional U.S. Air Force support for Swift Response 21 includes C-17 Globemaster III aircraft flying out of Papa AB, Hungary, assigned to the 62nd AW, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and the 437th AW, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. The 446th AW, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and the 315th AW, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, also flew C-17 Globemaster III aircraft providing airlift and airdrop into Estonia before returning to home station. EC-130H Compass Call aircraft assigned to the 55th Electronic Combat Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, will also participate by integrating with U.S. units, allies and partner nations to provide simulated electronic warfare.

U.S. Army participating units are the 82nd Airborne Division, which is the division headquarters and the primary training audience. U.S. Army Europe and Africa will be the higher command for all three Joint Forcible Entries. The 173rd Airborne Brigade and five quartermaster units will conduct airborne operations as part of Swift Response 21. The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Army Training Command, will set the training environment at Joint Multinational Readiness Center and Training Support Activity Europe.

The large-scale movements of troops and equipment will require extensive support from each of the host nations and demonstrate the indispensability of allied and partner investment in and contributions to European military readiness and defense. Our presence and commitment to the defense of our allies in the Balkan and Black Sea Regions are important symbols of assurance and provide deterrence against potential adversaries.

There will be media opportunities during DEFENDER-Europe 21 activities. Journalists interested in being added to our distribution list should email USArmyEurope.MediaDesk@mail.mil, or subscribe to our RSS feed at www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/PressReleases. Follow the latest news and information on DEFENDER-Europe 21 at www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/DefenderEurope.

For more information on U.S. Air Force support please contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at usafepao.pao@us.af.mil or usafepa.pastaffdutyofficer@us.af.mil.