Anatolian Eagle 15 concludes

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  • By 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Anatolian Eagle 15, a joint training exercise between the Turkish and U.S. air forces, concluded here June 18.

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa deployed 12 F-15 Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing, at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. During the two-week exercise, the 493rd Fighter Squadron completed 72 sorties and approximately 122 flying hours, which resulted in a stronger partnership and improved interoperability between the two nations.

Lt. Col. John Stratton, the 493rd FS commander, said the large-force training was similar to Red Flag exercises in the U.S., where participants execute a variety of mission sets against a robust and aggressive adversary force.

"It increases our interoperability because it gives our pilots a chance to come together, to mission plan, brief, execute and debrief," he said. "So we can see what works and what doesn't in a joint coalition setting so we know how well we're going to be able to execute in any future mission."

The training's strategic location also allowed the U.S. Air Force to exercise operational and logistical processes and deploy to, operate in and around Europe, which further enhanced USAFE-AFAFRICA’s role in maintaining regional stability.

Turkish Air Force Lt. Col. Abidin Tanrisever, the 123rd Weapons and Tactics Squadron commander, said Anatolian Eagle presents realistic training environments for allied and partner nations with similar practices and doctrines.

"Recent operations show that close coordination and precise communication is very important in the execution of the operational plan," he said.

"To fly and train with the U.S. Air Force," Tanrisever said, "is a great opportunity to practice our interoperability and also since we share almost the same doctrine and fight."

Both pilots and ground maintenance Airmen from the U.S. displayed great professionalism and Airmanship during the exercise, he noted.

Along with the U.S., the exercise brought together air forces from the U.K., Spain, Germany, Pakistan and a combined NATO unit to further strengthen relationships and ensure combat readiness.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Ford, a 493rd FS pilot, said Anatolian Eagle wasn't just a great training exercise, but an opportunity to strengthen relationships with allies.

"The partnerships we build here in the exercise while we're in Turkey are very important not only today, learning from each other," he said, "but also maybe those partnerships that we rely on tomorrow with our allied countries."