First-ever Air National Guard European TSP arrives in Bulgaria

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, left, walks with Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Airmen and F-15 Eagles from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are part of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package deployment. The European TSP provides the opportunity for U.S. forces to train with NATO allies and is enabled by the strategic access provided by the infrastructure, support and host-nation relationships at U.S. and host-nation installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, left, walks with Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Airmen and F-15 Eagles from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are part of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package deployment. The European TSP provides the opportunity for U.S. forces to train with NATO allies and is enabled by the strategic access provided by the infrastructure, support and host-nation relationships at U.S. and host-nation installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks during an interview while touring Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc discussed the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's role in Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package deployment, stressing the unique opportunity for U.S. forces to train with NATO allies across Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks during an interview while touring Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc discussed the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's role in Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package deployment, stressing the unique opportunity for U.S. forces to train with NATO allies across Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, converses with U.S. and Bulgarian Air Force leaders after arriving at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc visited the base to speak with U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the joint training occurring as part of a Theater Security Package deployment of Airmen from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, converses with U.S. and Bulgarian Air Force leaders after arriving at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc visited the base to speak with U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the joint training occurring as part of a Theater Security Package deployment of Airmen from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with a group of 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilots during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. The pilots, made up of several Air National Guard units from around the U.S., deployed to Bulgaria as part of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package. While this is the first time the ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP, these types of deployments are not new to the Air Force. Fighter squadrons have been deploying to the Pacific in this manner since 2004. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with a group of 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilots during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. The pilots, made up of several Air National Guard units from around the U.S., deployed to Bulgaria as part of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package. While this is the first time the ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP, these types of deployments are not new to the Air Force. Fighter squadrons have been deploying to the Pacific in this manner since 2004. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with a Bulgarian Air Force pilot during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Members from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Bulgaria to fly with NATO allies and support Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with a Bulgarian Air Force pilot during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Members from the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Bulgaria to fly with NATO allies and support Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, answers questions about the mission and future of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package from local media during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. TSP deployments and combined training with allies and partners demonstrate USAFE's commitment to its allies and its investment in maintaining security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, answers questions about the mission and future of Europe's first-ever Theater Security Package from local media during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. TSP deployments and combined training with allies and partners demonstrate USAFE's commitment to its allies and its investment in maintaining security and stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander, left, U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, center, and Lt. Gen. Constantin Popov, Bulgarian deputy chief of defense, wait to take the stage during a briefing to U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the Theater Security Package deployment during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. The briefing, attended by local media, showcased partnered U.S. and Bulgarian commitment to the current and future security and stability of the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander, left, U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, center, and Lt. Gen. Constantin Popov, Bulgarian deputy chief of defense, wait to take the stage during a briefing to U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the Theater Security Package deployment during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. The briefing, attended by local media, showcased partnered U.S. and Bulgarian commitment to the current and future security and stability of the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christina Lopez, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron requirements and optimization section chief, receives a coin from U.S. Air Force Gen Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc recognized Lopez for her contributions in establishing the initial footprint of Theater Security Package support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christina Lopez, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron requirements and optimization section chief, receives a coin from U.S. Air Force Gen Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. Gorenc recognized Lopez for her contributions in establishing the initial footprint of Theater Security Package support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks to an audience of U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the Theater Security Package in Europe during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. U.S. presence in Europe and the relationships built during the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet NATO Article 5 commitments and to respond to threats against U.S. allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks to an audience of U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen about the Theater Security Package in Europe during a visit to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015. U.S. presence in Europe and the relationships built during the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to meet NATO Article 5 commitments and to respond to threats against U.S. allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- -- The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander spoke to U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen and local community leaders about the U.S. Air Force's first European Theater Security Package of F-15C Eagles deployed to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 11, 2015.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, welcomed the approximately 200 Airmen of the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Europe.

"These 200 Airmen and 12 F-15s led by the Florida National Guard and comprised of Airmen and equipment from several National Guard units provide a strategic symbol as they represent the United States' commitment to European security and stability," said Gorenc.

The squadron will fly with NATO allies and support Operation Atlantic Resolve. OAR is a demonstration of U.S. European Command and USAFE-AFAFRICA's continued commitment to the collective security of Europe and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.

"The mission of the Bulgarian Air Force is to guard and protect the sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace," Gorenc said. "The men and women of this TSP look forward to working with you to further our collective defense."

Gorenc explained, "The U.S. Air Force's forward presence in Europe, augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security."

While this is the first time the ANG has deployed to Europe as a TSP, these types of deployments are not new to the Air Force. Fighter squadrons have been deploying like this to the Pacific since 2004.

"We know how much effort and resources it takes to be deployed here," said Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, Bulgarian Air Force commander. "I want to thank the U.S. Air Force command represented by Gen. Gorenc, because you are here again and our joint training continues. If the Bulgarian Air Force is an inseparable part from the alliance today, it is to a great extent because of these trainings."

The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, Jacksonville, Fla., leads this first ANG theater security package to deploy in support of OAR. The aircraft and Airmen are based out of units in Florida, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and various bases throughout Europe. Regardless of their origin, together, they make up the 159th EFS.