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Airmen, F-16s train in Souda Bay

A 555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon departs from Aviano Air Base, Italy on Jan. 21, 2016 to support a flying training deployment in Souda Bay, Greece. Fourteen F-16s, one KC-135 Stratotanker from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing, and 280 Airmen deployed to Souda Bay to train with Greece’s Hellenic air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A 555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon departs from Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 21, 2017, to support a flying training deployment in Souda Bay, Greece. Fourteen F-16s, one KC-135 Stratotanker from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing, and 280 Airmen deployed to Souda Bay to train with Greece’s Hellenic Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

A 555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon departs from Aviano Air Base, Italy on Jan. 21, 2016 to support a flying training deployment in Souda Bay, Greece. Fourteen F-16s, one KC-135 Stratotanker from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing, and 280 Airmen deployed to Souda Bay to train with Greece’s Hellenic air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. R.J. Biermann)

A 555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon departs from Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 21, 2017, to support a flying training deployment in Souda Bay, Greece. Fourteen F-16s, one KC-135 Stratotanker from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing, and 280 Airmen deployed to Souda Bay to train with Greece’s Hellenic Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Krystal Ardrey)

Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing board a C-130 Hercules at Aviano Air Base, Italy on Jan. 21, 2017 on their way to Souda Bay, Greece. The Airmen traveled to Souda Bay, Greece, to support a flying training detachment with the Hellenic air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing board a C-130 Hercules at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 21, 2017, on their way to Souda Bay, Greece. The Airmen traveled to Souda Bay to support a flying training deployment with the Hellenic Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cary Smith)

SOUDA BAY, Greece (AFNS) -- From Jan. 20-Feb. 3, the 31st Fighter Wing's 555th Fighter Squadron and Arizona Air National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing are participating in a flying training deployment to Souda Bay, Greece.

Fourteen F-16 Fighting Falcons, one KC-135 Stratotanker and 280 Airmen are partnering with their NATO ally, Greece, to evaluate aircraft and personnel capabilities, and to train with Greece's Hellenic Air Force.

These training engagements are planned in advance to strengthen military-to-military relationships and increase NATO ally interoperability. The scenarios involve combined flying operations between countries to identify and work through coordination concerns that may arise during real-world events.

“Training here at Souda Bay prepares us for any upcoming deployments,” said Lt. Col. Rob Faustman, the 555th FS director of operations. “Access to their ranges allows us to drop live ordnance … and utilize other combative tools on our jets.”

Engagements such as these strengthen relationships between the US, allies and partners, and demonstrate the United States' shared commitment to a safe and secure Europe.

“Our Greek counterparts have been extremely accommodating—we wouldn't be able to do any of this without them,” Faustman said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them during an already-stellar FTD.”

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