Air Force gains larger presence in Romania

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Greg Bluethmann
  • Det. 4, Air Force News Agency
The Romanian parliament passed legislation the first week of May that now authorizes the U.S. military to use several of its bases. 

The announcement came just as the Air Force was wrapping up a 10-day exercise, called Sniper Lance 2007, in the former Eastern Bloc country.

This was the second exercise in the past nine months the Air Force held in Romania.

"The training the U.S. can get by going there (Romania) is very good." said Lt. Col. Stephen Ritter, chief of the Mihail Kogalnuceanu Integration Branch. "We're working right now with the Romanians on ranges and the things we'll be able to do there to make training for our forces better, and also with them and other NATO partners."

U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials plan on standing up a small operating location in Bucharest this summer to help facilitate future exercises in Romania. The Romanian government has authorized up 3,000 servicemembers to be stationed in the country, but there are no immediate plans to have Airmen permanently stationed in Romania.

Holding exercises in Romania offers a great opportunity for training since the terrain is similar to where the Air Force is engaged in the war on terrorism. 

"The biggest thing is that Romania is a country that really respects and looks up to the United States," Colonel Ritter said. "(They) look to us as a friend and really want us there."

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