US partners with Poland, Estonia for Exercise Spring Storm 2016

ÄMARI AIR BASE, Estonia -- U.S. and Polish air forces deployed F-15C Eagles, Su-22 Fitters, personnel and equipment to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, May 4, to conduct air training with the Estonian Defense Force in support of exercise Spring Storm 2016.

The exercise is held at the invitation of the Estonian government, with the goal of improving allied air operations and interoperability in a realistic training environment.

"This is a great training opportunity for us," said Lt. Col. Jeff Beckel, 131st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron detachment commander. "Exercises like Spring Storm help us train together to counter a range of regional and global threats."

Over the next three weeks, Estonian, Polish and American air forces will work side-by-side to maximize training opportunities, strengthen relationships, and demonstrate each nation's commitment to a safe and secure Europe.

"We're honored to work with the American military," said Major Hardi Lämmergas, Estonian Air Force, Air Surveillance Wing commander. "The Estonian Defense Force hopes to benefit from U.S. experience."

The training also hosts a ground component with approximately 6,000 soldiers and personnel from nine NATO countries taking part in the exercise, making it the year's largest exercise in Estonia.