In moves reminiscent of the Crested Cap and Salty Bee deployments to Europe by US military aircraft in the Cold War, several Stateside-based aircraft have deployed to Europe this summer. A detachment of F-16Cs from Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Fighter Wing flew to Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark, on June 1 to take part in exercises across the continent. Four of those left almost immediately for Cerklje ob Krki Air Base in Slovenia to take part in the Slovenian-led Joint Terminal Attack Controller training exercise Adriatic Strike 2018.
A rarer batch of visitors comprised four UH-72A Lakotas from Company ‘A’ of the 1-376th Aviation Security and Support Battalion of the Nebraska Army National Guard based at Grand Island Army Aviation Support Facility that arrived at Bremerhaven, Germany by ship on May 21, 2018. They flew to Hohenfels to provide MEDEVAC cover while the Lakotas of Company ‘C’ of the 1-214th General Support Aviation Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade are otherwise engaged on exercises including Saber Strike 2018. The four Lakotas will return home at the end of August.
Arriving at Bodo Air Station, Norway on May 30 were six AV-8B Harrier IIs from Marine Attack Squadron 542 (VMA-542) ‘Tigers’ based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. They deployed for Exercise Fjord Fury.
Six F-16Cs from Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing based at Kelly Air Force Base and two Lincoln, Nebraska-based KC-135R Stratotankers from the 155th Air Refueling Wing deployed to the Czech Republic to take part in Exercise Sky Avenger 2018 between June 18 and 29 as part of the State Partnership Program sponsored by the Air National Guard. Participants exchanged best practices and shared training experiences while enhancing interoperability and readiness between the two nation’s militaries. The F-16Cs were based at Časlav Air Base and the tankers at Pardubice. In England, four B-1B Lancer bombers from the 7th Bomb Wing’s 28th Bomb Squadron deployed to RAF Fairford for Exercise Saber Strike. They were affected by the grounding order in place across the entire Air Force B-1B Lancer fleet.
Two E-3s from the Tinker, Oklahoma-based 552nd Air Control Wing, arrived at Geilenkirchen, Germany in early June to take part in Exercise Baltops 2018, a massive multinational land, sea and air exercise held in the Baltic region. In addition, 18 F-16Cs assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany flew to Poznań- Krzesiny Air Base Poland in early June to participate in bilateral training with the Siły Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Polish Air Force) in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.