Romania, US reaffirm commitment to European security
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 17, 2015
CAMPIA TURZII, Romania --
Leadership from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Air Force conducted a visit of Romanian and U.S. Air Forces executing a bilateral training deployment at Campia Turzii, Romania, April 16.
Mircea Dusa, Romanian Minister of National Defense, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, Romanian army Lt. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of General Staff, and Romanian air force Maj. Gen. Laurian Anastasof, Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff, toured the installation, congratulated Airmen and participated in a media event related to the progress of the theater security package.
"We are here today at the invitation of our Romania friends who, like other Eastern Europeans, are experiencing real anxiety in the wake of aggression in the Ukraine," Roberson said. "Intimidating actions, which continue, have created significant distress among Eastern Europeans and resurrected thoughts of a not too distant past."
Roberson said that U.S. European Command and the U.S. Air Force deployed additional forces on the continent to reassure its allies and partner nations, which he described as an effective way to show that European security is an American priority.
The U.S. Air Force's 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force's 71st Air Base's MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Puma helicopters partnered together for training, also known as Dacian Thunder 2015, in order to build upon both nations' joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force 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, serve in various operations, maintenance, mission support, medical and wing staff functions there, reflecting a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.
He added that the TSP represents the first of its kind in the European theater, while reflecting those used in the Pacific theater since 2004. "Although Mr. Putin's recent actions are of concern, this team is not only in response to him and Russia but also part of a long-range plan," he said. "The essential point is that rotational constructs that we see here [are] part of a steadfast commitment to the long-term safety and security of our NATO allies.
This rotational construct is also a method for projecting forces at the right time and to the right combatant commanders."
Roberson also highlighted the 354th EFS's accomplishments since arriving in Europe in February 2015: the execution of more than 400 flights with more than 1,000 training hours in support of missions with Poland, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and others; many flying training deployments and interoperability events; support to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers certification; as well as Combat Search and Rescue training.
"These Airmen and A-10s of the 354th EFS provide a strategic symbol as they represent U.S. commitment to European security and stability," Roberson said.
Anastasof echoed Roberson's assessment of the TSP, citing it as "more proof of America's continued commitment to European security."
"Notable accomplishments in theaters of operations provide evidence of how thoroughly and responsibly our military forces approach exercises like this one and, at the same time, clearly show the benefits of military cooperative relationships such as between the U.S. and Romania, following the principle 'Training together -- fighting together,'" Anastasof said.
He also said that the exercise will continue to be a part of future plans when considering its relation to accomplishing assumed NATO and national commitments.
"Both NATO and strategic partnership commitments of the Romanian air force, as well as the way we choose to meet them, give expression to our solidarity and determination to successfully complete joint projects on the benefit of peace, freedom and democracy," Anastasof said.
The ceremony concluded with U.S. and Romanian aircraft recommencing training.
"All these training events focus upon increased readiness and toward greater stability in the area," Roberson said. "Together, we stand to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace."