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48FW, 352 SOW participate in exercise with NATO nations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shanice Ship
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing and the 352d Special Operations Wing participated in a combined readiness exercise in the Baltic region among NATO partners Oct. 26 - Nov 6.

Exercises and engagements in the European area of responsibility demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability in this region through operationalizing agility-based war-fighting concepts.

 “The main goal of this exercise is training and certification of the Composite Special Operations Air Task Group in its capacity to direct and execute air operations,” said Royal Danish Air Force Jens Blomqvist, C-SOATG deputy commander.

According to Blomqvist, the coalition between the Denmark, Dutch and Belgian forces is unique and impressive in its capabilities collectively. The integration of U.S. force increases the coalition’s lethality and enhances interoperability, he said.

The exercise enhances the proficiency of multinational forces to counter military aggression and coercion by sharing responsibilities for common defense.

“We work together with seamless integration and that is not just the four nations here, we are all NATO,” Blomqvist said. “Our resolve to continue this shared learning and adaptation of capabilities makes us all stronger together.”

This demonstration remains a historic reminder of how the dedicated resolve of allies with a common purpose and shared vision builds proven partnerships that endure.

The U.S. network of allies and partners is also strengthened by furthering the Agile Combat Employment concept to deliberately build partner nation capabilities, enhance interoperability and develop opportunities for strategic access.

“This engagement is all about partners, practice, and presence,” said U.S. Lt. Col. Jaina Donberg, 494th Fighter Squadron commander. “As we exercise with our special operations and NATO partners across the Baltics, we’re practicing Agile Combat Employment concepts, with limited traditional support. In the Panthers, we keep our claws sharp to win in combat… but we don’t do it alone. By sharpening our claws with our partners, we’ll be a more lethal team…ready for any fight.”

Participating assets included F-15E Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons and MC-130J Commando IIs, among varying support tenets allowing for the exchange of information and preparedness on how to break the barriers that may be present within NATO and with allied partners.

“The fact that we are now certified by NATO to conduct our duties strengthen our capabilities to coordinate and plan air operations locally and on a multilateral level,” said Royal Danish Air Force Lt. Col Jorrit de Gruijter , C-SOATG commander. “As we are now capable to mobilize at the blink of an eye, serves as a show of force and deterrent to those that would oppose us.”

Still, it was not just about getting certified, de Gruitjer said. Through the development of multilateral combat-ready troops, the participating nations have paved the way for long-term advancement of allies and partners’ combined interests.

The NATO allied and partner nations' special operations forces will continue increasing interoperability to enable any multi-domain mission in the response, defense, and stability of peace within the Baltic and surrounding regions.