HomeNewsArticle Display

Bulgaria, US commence joint air policing

A California Air National Guard F-15C Eagle takes off from the flightline on Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15Cs will conduct joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian air force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace Sept. 9-16, 2016. The squadron forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, where they serve on a theater security package deployment to Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

A California Air National Guard F-15C Eagle takes off from the flightline on Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15Cs conducted joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian Air Force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace Sept. 9-16, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

California Air National Guard Master Sgt. Audra Jimenez, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons craftsman, affixes an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile onto an F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft on the flightline at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the squadron’s F-15Cs will conduct joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian air force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace Sept. 9-16, 2016. The squadron forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, where they serve on a theater security package deployment to Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

California Air National Guard Master Sgt. Audra Jimenez, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons craftsman, affixes an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile onto an F-15C Eagle at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. The squadron forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

California Air National Guard Maj. Brett Faber, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft pilot, looks at the controls of his aircraft on the flightline at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the squadron’s F-15Cs will conduct joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian air force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace. The squadron forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, where they serve on a theater security package deployment to Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

Maj. Brett Faber, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle pilot, performs pre-flight checks at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the squadron’s F-15Cs conducted joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian Air Force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

California Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Zechery Blackburn, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron crew chief, signals to the pilot of an F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft on the flightline at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the squadron’s F-15Cs will conduct joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian air force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace Sept. 9-16, 2016. The squadron forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, where they serve on a theater security package deployment to Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

Sgt. Zechery Blackburn, a 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron crew chief, marshals an F-15C Eagle at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, Sept. 8, 2016. Four of the squadron’s F-15Cs conducted joint NATO air policing missions with the Bulgarian Air Force to police the host nation’s sovereign airspace Sept. 9-16, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

GRAF IGNATIEVO, Bulgaria (AFNS) -- The U.S. and Bulgarian air forces are conducting a joint NATO air policing mission in Bulgaria Sept. 9-16, which enables on-demand response capabilities that serve to mitigate and deter violations and infringements on Bulgarian sovereign airspace.

Working alongside the Bulgarian Air Force are four F-15C Eagles from the California and Massachusetts Air National Guards, along with approximately 75 Airmen from the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

“It’s quite an honor to be the first-ever U.S. or NATO participant here in Bulgaria for this mission,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Ohman, a 194th EFS F-15C pilot. “It’s awesome just to be able to work with the people here who have gone out of their way to really facilitate our being here.”

The Bulgarian Parliament approved joint national air policing in February 2016. The U.S. Air Force has regularly supported NATO allies to defend their airspace in line with security commitments to NATO. The 194th EFS previously conducted joint air policing in Iceland in March 2016, which marked the first of its kind under the concurrent Operation Atlantic Resolve mission.

The 194th EFS aircraft forward deployed to Graf Ignatievo from Campia Turzii, Romania, where the squadron serves as a theater security package deployment to Europe as a part of OAR.

The squadron represents a total force endeavor, comprised of ANG and Air Force Reserve Airmen from the 144th Fighter Wing at Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, and the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes ANGB, Massachusetts, alongside active-duty Airmen in support roles from the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

“This is something that we do naturally back in Fresno at the 144th (Fighter Wing),” said Lt. Col. Cesar Gonzalez, a 194th EFS aircraft maintenance commander. “Our Guardsmen protect, and we’re on alert protecting the homefront and the western front. What a great opportunity to do the same for … Europe.”

Gonzalez also said both the joint air policing and the theater security package deployment will allow 194th EFS Airmen to remain current on their training with their active-duty counterparts while assisting a NATO ally with policing the integrity of its borders.

“It’s important that we are standing side by side with our NATO allies,” he said. “We are committed to the security of Europe and helping Bulgaria and countries who ask for our help.”

The 194th EFS has carried out bilateral flight operations to bolster interoperability among NATO allies and partner nations like the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria and Iceland since their deployment began in March 2016.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Congratulations to #USAF Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet Maj. Sydney Cloutier from Pensacola High Schoo… https://t.co/baRvgYsuPC
Grand Forks AFB soon to be known as America's Global Hawk Base once the @319ABW is re-designated as the 319th Recon… https://t.co/EBRkBhkE0f
RT @DeptofDefense: Happy #ArmedForcesDay! We thank our men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms each and every day. #KnowYourMil h…
RT @ConorDaly22: Have to give a big thank you to @usairforce TSgt Amanda Reynolds for drawing us spot number 1 to qualify! Just under 2 hou…
Today, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch met w/@GovHolcomb & the #AdjutantGeneral of @INGuardsman at the @IMS as part of our ne… https://t.co/r8amzUd8Ko
#DYK: The #USAF's real #CaptainMarvel trained @brielarson for her role as Capt. Marvel. Learn more about Brig Gener… https://t.co/hZNbSzuvNS
Calling all Hoosiers! We're coming to #Indianapolis May 18-20 as part of our new community outreach program -… https://t.co/ywj6LXACAW
.@SecAFOfficial was interviewed by #JojoScienceShow at last week's @Andrews_JBA's #STEM event which featured more t… https://t.co/CwAjk4Foxq
RT @SecAFOfficial: The @USAirForce will now reimburse qualifying licensure & recertification fees incurred during PCS/PCAs up to $500 for s…
.@SJAFB spouse wins #AirForce level award for connecting the team Seymour volunteer to the community learn more:… https://t.co/TtWbSKNs87
#Airmen from across @HQUSAFEPA gather together with sister services and @NATO members to gain critical skills that… https://t.co/vk81NGuJLa
.@53rdWRS #HurricaneHunters and @NWSNHC teams participated in a Hurricane Awareness Tour, gaining safety knowledge… https://t.co/DDc4P7y71n
#DYK, the #AirForce has two deployable labs. These Rapid Assistance Support for Calibration units or RASCALS have b… https://t.co/DhKfKN8bDN
An #F15 Strike Eagle, assigned to the @48FighterWing, receives fuel from a 351st Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stra… https://t.co/hRpC1FFJm0
A KC-46 Pegasus assigned to the @22ARW performs a flyover during an Heritage to Horizons concert at the #AirForce M… https://t.co/Iecglwbxnb
.@AFResearchLab scientists and engineers recently visited universities throughout Israel to learn about their techn… https://t.co/Tzlc3XYd9s
.@ConorDaly22 won’t be the only one representing the #USAF in #Indianapolis this weekend! We're coming to… https://t.co/M6Ni3ClXTw
.@USArmy ground liaison officers assist intel #Airmen, ensuring globally networked sites work together to provide w… https://t.co/qKYKKZ0ptm
RT @JoJoScienceShow: I had fun time doing a science experiment with the Secretary of the Air Force @secafofficial and General Wilson at the…
Sometimes it takes a different perspective to discover a new way of thinking. @HQ_AFMC's Continued Process Improvem… https://t.co/lBMmAyyLoy