The 122nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, comprised of approximately 300 Airmen from the Louisiana Air National Guard, and F15s from both the Louisiana and Florida ANG, have deployed to Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, as part of a Theater Security Package.
While in country, the 122nd EFS, along with seven other coalition partners are also participating in Royal Netherlands Air Force exercise, Frisian Flag 2017, March 27 to April 7, 2017.
During this exercise around 50 aircraft will take to the sky daily.
“Anytime a pilot goes to a flag, a larger force exercise, you get a great training opportunity you may not get back home,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Fischer, 122nd EFS commander.
The 122nd EFS will conduct training alongside our North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allies and partners to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate United States commitment to the security and stability of Europe.
“We are strong members of the NATO alliance and remain prepared with credible force to assure, deter and defend our allies,” said Maj. Gen. Jon K. Kelk, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, United States Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa. “Our presence and the relationships we build here allow us to develop and improve those ready air forces. When we have the opportunity to train with coalition air forces, everyone benefits.”
Missions flown during Frisian Flag include air defense missions, offensive missions, missions to protect other aircraft and missions carried out to eliminate static and dynamic targets on land or at sea.
“The benefit of this exercise is when it’s time to respond to any type of contingency or real world event we have now trained with our coalition partners,” said Maj. Gen. Kelk.” “When we do that, we get to advantage our capability and theirs for the best possible outcome.”
322 Squadron at Leeuwarden Air Base is responsible for the organization of Frisian Flag. Leeuwarden AB has hosted Frisian Flag since the exercise’s inception in 1992.
Each training flight lasts for over an hour and is preceded by a substantial period of preparation. In addition, comprehensive analysis is carried out after each flight to ensure that everyone makes the most of the training exercise.
Once the exercise draws to a close, the 122nd EFS will be prepared to redeploy as part of a TSP package to regions throughout Europe to continue its overall mission of strengthening interoperability and demonstrating U.S. commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, secure and able to deter aggression.
After spending a month at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, F-15C Eagles from the 122nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, April 26.
Along with the aircraft, approximately 300 Airmen from the Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard are deployed to Europe as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve with the goal of strengthening interoperability and enhancing regional security.
While in Leeuwarden, the 122nd EFS participated in the Royal Netherlands Air Force-led exercise, Frisian Flag. The purpose of Frisian Flag was to improve cooperation and capabilities between the multiple participating countries.
“We had excellent training in the Netherlands, as well as excellent support,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Fischer, 122nd EFS commander. “We interacted with some very different countries and everything went very well.”