by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/1/2016 – SOUDA BAY, Greece — The Hellenic air force and the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron continue bilateral training at Souda Bay, Greece.

Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, commenced training Jan. 22, 2016 with the Hellenic air force 115th Combat Wing to evaluate aircraft and personnel capabilities.

“We should all care about this training because we are all part of NATO,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Murphy, 480th FS commander. “Anytime we can come together as partners to work on various mission sets prepares us for any mission that NATO may task to Spangdahlem. One of the biggest things we want to do is work with the Joint terminal attack controllers on the ground.”

The scenarios involve notional events as well as combined flying operations between the countries to help identify and negate coordination concerns that may arise during real-world events. The U.S. demonstrates its shared commitment to a safe and secure Europe through engagements such as these by strengthening its relationships with allied partners.

This training is made possible through the efforts of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, the command which governs all U.S. air assets in Europe with the duty to train, equip and deploy combat-ready Airmen. Their posture is to continuously hone skills during peacetime, poise to address any security threats, and ensure regional peace and stability.

“I think everything that we have done represents the Forward-Ready-Now mentality,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Parsons, 480th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. “It’s a case of readiness being the key, we needed to come out here to get our team ready-to-go and keep them ready.”

Souda Bay is located on the island of Crete southeast of Athens. One of the station’s primary functions is to support airborne operations in this strategically critical area of the world. Throughout the next two weeks, the Hellenic air force’s 115th Combat Wing pilots will train with their U.S. counterparts here to enhance their capabilities with different flying roles: air-to-air combat, suppression of enemy air defense, air interdiction, counter-air and close air support.

“There is a lot that went into making this FTD possible,” Murphy said. “Anytime you are moving 300 people over a thousand miles away from their home station, it’s a huge effort from a lot of different organizations. Our team and the Hellenic air force making all this happen is just phenomenal.”