Defense Media Network

Newest Defense Media Network Promotion

Flying Tiger A-10s Arrive in Estonia

Dozen A-10s, 350 airmen part of Theater Security Package for Operation Atlantic Resolve

 

Twelve A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Wing “Flying Tigers,” along with 350 supporting airmen, arrived in Amari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 21, according to an Air Force press release.

“Both the United States Air Force and the Estonian Air Force will gain tremendous benefits. It’s really a synergistic relationship that we gain when we are able to operate out of an airfield in a foreign country with our allies. We will be able to brief, execute, debrief together and learn those lessons and turn around and reapply them the next day.”

The A-10s, pilots, and maintainers, are part of a Theater Security Package deployment out of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Operation Atlantic Resolve continues as a demonstration of U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s commitment to the collective security of NATO members and partners. The training involved will enhance interoperability between systems and units.

A-10 taxi Amari AFB

The first of 12 U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt IIs assigned to the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron lands at Amari Air Base, Estonia Sept. 21, 2015. Approximately 350 airmen and support equipment from the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, will conduct routine flying training and participate in several exercises and training events with NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins

“This is a great opportunity for our pilots, maintainers and support airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan France, 74th EFS commander. “Both the United States Air Force and the Estonian Air Force will gain tremendous benefits. It’s really a synergistic relationship that we gain when we are able to operate out of an airfield in a foreign country with our allies. We will be able to brief, execute, debrief together and learn those lessons and turn around and reapply them the next day.”

“We hope to learn as much as we can,” said Estonian Air Force Lt. Col. Ular Lohmas, Amari Air Base commander. “Amari is a very young air base and [the Americans] bring a lot of experience so we can learn new procedures. I hope they learn a little from us too.”

Commanders, Estonia

Estonian Air Force Lt. Col. Uhal Lohmas, Amari Air Base commander (left), welcomes U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan France, 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, to Estonia at Amari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 21, 2015. Estonia is the first stop for the 74th EFS, who are deployed as part of a Theater Security Package. U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins

The six-month deployment will see the 74th EFS carry out flying training with NATO partners and allies in Eastern Europe as well as participate in several exercises and other training events. While A-10 deployments as part of TSPs are not new, this is the first for the 23rd FW.

“The Flying Tigers have a very rich history of working with coalition partners and nations that dates back to 1941 and we are going to be able to further that heritage here over the next six months. Honestly, I could not be more proud and excited to lead these Flying Tiger airmen during our first TSP deployment,” said France.

A-10s post flight

Maintenance Airmen from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron do post-flight maintenance on U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt IIs on the flight line at Amari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 21, 2015. U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins

“The benefits to training with our NATO allies are astronomical,” added France. “It’s a very difficult piece … to be able to communicate effectively with one another on the battlefield and in the battle space, so being here in Eastern Europe to train alongside those military partners will enable us to better operate on the battlefield together. It also allows us to learn from each other which better prepares us to operate together in the future.”