Airmen, F-16s train in Souda Bay
By Staff Sgt. Austin Harvill, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 25, 2017
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.”