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    Story by Staff Sgt. Nesha Stanton 

    86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs

    PLOVDIV, BULGARIA—Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing, 37th Airlift Squadron and 435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, join the Bulgarian Air Force to kick-off Exercise Thracian Spring 17 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, March 14.

    The two-week exercise is designed to provide both U.S. and Bulgarian Airmen the opportunity to train together while enhancing interoperability and improving combined air operations.

    ”Although we already have a strong military alliance with the Bulgarians, it’s important that we conduct these exercises.” said Capt. Mary Bordelon, 37 AS flight commander and Exercise Thracian Spring 17 mission commander.

    Two C-130Js Super Hercules are scheduled to accompany one of the Bulgarian’s Alenia C-27J Spartans in dissimilar formation.

    “We’re testing our ability to deploy throughout the European theatre,” Bordelon said, “And deliver tactical airlift wherever is needed; especially in support of reassuring our allies of our nation's commitment.”

    The exercise is a direct reflection of the Signed Defense Cooperation Agreement, the U.S. signed with Bulgaria in May of 2006. The agreement gives the U.S. military access to facilitate joint training with the Bulgarian military.

    Since the agreement’s inception, the 37th AS has trained with the Bulgarian Air Force more than 10 times.

    “A lot of the training is happening hand in hand with the Bulgarian military,” Bordelon said. “It’s good to see that everyone is taking ownership of their roles. There are people from all different agencies from Ramstein and everyone is here to do a job.”

    Amongst the air crew, a few other specialties providing support are: air traffic control, air flight equipment, air field management, contracting, weather, intelligence, maintenance and medical.

    Bordelon is one of sixty Ramstein Airmen and says she’s very optimistic about the week.

    “A lot of people showed up today and put in a long day,” she said. “We’re still pushing forward, so we can drive success for the rest of the deployment.



    Date Taken: 03.14.2017
    Date Posted: 03.22.2017 06:28
    Story ID: 226897
    Location: PLOVDIV, BG 

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