Ten Maryland ANG A-10Cs deploy to Europe

Ten US Air Force (USAF)-operated Fairchild-Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II close air support/attack aircraft belonging to the Maryland Air National Guard arrived at Keflavik, Iceland, on May 5, before moving deeper into Europe to conduct Agile Combat Employment (ACE) training and support the US Army’s Swift Response exercise.

Maryland A-10C in Macedonia
US Air Force/Maryland Air National Guard A-10C Thunderbolt II78-0088 ‘MD’ taxies in at Ohrid St Paul The Apostle Airport in Ohrid, North Macedonia, on May 7, after arriving from Keflavik, Iceland, on deployment US ANG/Master Sgt Christopher Schepers

The ten aircraft – which are assigned to the 175th Wing's 104th Fighter Squadron – arrived at Keflavik in two flights: 78-0637 ‘MD’ (callsign ‘Trend 41’), 78-0702 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 42’), 78-0720 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 43’), 79-0087 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 44’) and 79-0088 ‘MD’ (Trend 45’); followed by 78-0704 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 51’), 78-0705 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 52’), 79-0082 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 53’), 79-0165 ‘MD’ (‘Trend 54’) and 79-0175 ‘MD’/‘75 WG’ (‘Trend 55’).

Four aircraft (78-0704, 79-0082, 79-0165 and 79-0175) then flew on to Andøya, Norway  using callsigns ‘Trend 41-44’ – on May 6, while the remaining six (78-0637, 78-0702, 78-0705, 78-0720, 79-0087 and 79-0088) continued on to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. On May 7, these six aircraft departed Ramstein for Ohrid St Paul The Apostle Airport in Ohrid, North Macedonia.

During Swift Response, simultaneous sorties were due to be flown by both the four A-10Cs in Norway and the six aircraft in North Macedonia as they undertook ACE operations. They were to conduct close air support/combat search and rescue missions with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) and support Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) training with US Army paratroopers in each country.

Swift Response is an annual US Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF)-led multinational training exercise, taking place at a variety of locations throughout Eastern Europe – including the Arctic, Baltic Sea and Balkan Peninsula regions – from May 2-20. In addition to flying from Norway and North Macedonia, the A-10Cs were scheduled to deploy to other forward operating locations in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia and Poland to execute their ACE capabilities. Approximately 9,000 service members from 17 allied and partner nations are participating in the exercise, including roughly 2,700 US airmen and ground troops.