Scandinavia: U.S. Warplanes Drill Cross-Border, On “Global Scale”
U.S. Air Forces In Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa
May 14, 2014
Forward, Ready, Now: US Airmen train with Nordic nations
By Airman 1st Class Trevor T. McBride
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England: The U.S. called upon the 48th Fighter Wing to participate in a quick-response, cross-border, training exercise out of Bodo Main Air Station, Norway, May 6-8.
The exercise involved air forces from Norway, Finland and Sweden, who make up part of the Nordic Defence Cooperation which also includes Denmark and Iceland who were not participating in this exercise.
“The exercise gave us the opportunity to intermix between the Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish air forces,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Aaron Jones, 494th Fighter Squadron pilot.
While located at Bodo, approximately 40 Airmen and five F-15E Strike Eagles contributed to increasing tactical interoperability between the different air forces. They accomplished this objective by conducting defensive, counter-air exercises.
The Liberty Wing’s forward presence in Europe allows them to work closely with allies and partners to ensure security and protect global interests.
“We executed timely and effective takeoffs from Royal Air Force Lakenheath in England to be able to intermix with the cross-border training exercise and practice with our allies in the North,” Jones said. “To accomplish what we did shows how quickly we can reach out and help from just about anywhere.”
Finnish air force Lt. Col. Aki Heikkinen, Lapland Air Command commander, expressed his perspective on working alongside the U.S. Air Force.
“We try to be as [cooperative] as possible,” Heikkinen said. “We have changed from Finnish as a tactical language, to English.
Before departing from Bodo Main Air Station, Jones reflected on his training throughout the week.
“The experience has been phenomenal,” Jones said. “To be up in the air with Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish air forces, executing on a global scale is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…”
The U.S. Air Force will continue acting collectively with NATO, NorDefCo nations, and the international community to address any challenges.
“The training we do on a day-to-day basis allows us to be prepared for any calls at a moment’s notice,” Jones added. “We are Forward, Ready, Now.”