Air Force squadrons join exercises in Greece, Netherlands
By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 30, 2017
The Air Force’s 482nd Fighter Wing from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida has united with NATO partners for the annual Exercise Iniohos 17 in Greece.
“This exercise gives us the chance to strengthen our bonds with other (NATO) countries, our allies, with a different type of air superiority,” Capt. Paul Deveaux, a maintenance operations officer, said in a statement Tuesday.
Meanwhile, more than 300 airmen and 12 F-15C Eagles from the Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard have deployed to Leeuwarden Air Base, the Netherlands, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which aims to reassure allies along Russia’s western border.
The Iniohos air warfare exercise, held at Adravida Air Base in western Greece, brings together pilots and flight crews from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Italy, and Greece. Twelve Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcons are taking part in the 10-day event, which started on Monday.
“This experience gives us the feel for a deployment,” 482nd crew chief Staff Sgt. Jordan Anthony said. “It gives us a chance to improve flexibility with things we may or may not have and the opportunity to work in an environment we’re not used to.”
This is the third year in a row that the Iniohos exercise has been held. Last year, 12 F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, took part in the exercise.
The deployment of the Air National Guard’s 122nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to the Netherlands is intended to demonstrate U.S. resolve to supporting allies in Europe.
While at Leeuwarden airmen will train alongside NATO allies in the Frisian Flag exercise, led by the Dutch air force. The event has been held on an annual basis since 1999.
“We want to see what these other countries can do, how we can best integrate with them, show them what we can do and then look at those lessons learned and get better,” Lt. Col. Daniel Fischer, the squadron commander, said in a statement.
After the exercise, the unit will move to forward locations in other NATO nations for a six-month period.
“We’re building partnerships with our NATO allies and looking to deter any potential Russian aggression,” Fischer said.