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Sabers participate in Trident Juncture 2018

USAF

F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron park at Kallax Air Base , Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018, a NATO exercise which aims to demonstrate and develop the extensive military capabilities that keep allied nations safe in a changing security environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

A pilot from the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron exits an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018, an exercise designed to evaluate and and test NATO's ability to plan and conduct a major collective defense operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Richard, 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, exits an F-16 Fighting Falcon, at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018 which is designed to test NATO's ability to plan and conduct a major collective defense operation and coordinate large elements of a NATO force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

A pilot from the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron parks an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018 alongside the air, land and sea forces of 31 allied and partner nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron lands at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018 alongside 31 allied and partner nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

USAF

An F-16 Fighting Falcon of the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron parks at Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Oct. 19, 2018. The 480th EFS is participating in Trident Juncture 2018, which ensures NATO forces are able to operate together and be ready to respond to any threat from any direction. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Airmen, aircraft and support equipment from the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 171st Air Refueling Wing, and 134th ARW began flight operations in Norway for Trident Juncture 2018 on Oct. 25, 2018. They join more than 50,000 military members from 31 nations taking part in this NATO-led exercise.

The exercise, conducted over several different European countries including Norway, Finland and Sweden, is designed to test NATO’s ability to plan and conduct a major collective defense operation, ranging from troop training at the tactical level, to command over large elements of a NATO force.

“This is my first time to Sweden, and it has been eye opening how gracious our hosts are and the speed in which we were able to inter-operate with them,” said Lt. Col. Michael Richard, 480th EFS commander. “Being able to fly locally right after we got here was a great accomplishment, and we would like to express our gratitude to the Swedes.”

“An exercise of this scale allows us to demonstrate our readiness, to move F-16’s and support personnel from Germany to Sweden expeditiously and getting the aircraft flying again expeditiously is something we really value from a training perspective,” said Richard.

“This exercise allows us to work many different nations, something that the guard doesn’t normally get the chance to experience on a daily basis,” said Lt. Col. Bradley Cook, tanker detachment commander.

Guard and reserve tanker units will provide more than 75 percent of the aerial refueling support for the duration of Trident Juncture.