Estonia, US partner for bilateral training

ÄMARI AIR BASE, Estonia -- Four U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently deployed to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, to participate in a theater security package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

As part of the deployment, the U.S. and Estonian air forces will train together May 4-12 during Operation Hedgehog to improve interoperability in allied air operations and train multinational close air support operations.

Nearly 70 Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will participate as a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.

"These Airmen and A-10s of the 354th EFS provide a strategic symbol as they represent U.S. commitment to European security and stability," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force commander.

The A-10 supports Air Force missions around the world as part of the U.S. Air Force's current inventory of strike platforms, including F-15C Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the 354th EFS has forward deployed to reassure Eastern European NATO countries.

"Intimidating actions, which continue, have created significant distress among Eastern Europeans and resurrected thoughts of a not-too-distant past," Roberson said.

The TSP serves as part of a routine deployment of additional fighter squadrons, support personnel and equipment aimed to bolster U.S. forces in Europe on a rotating basis. Theater security package rotations have been occurring in the Pacific region since 2004.

"The theater security package is another way the Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa vice commander.