Michigan Air National Guard Supports Saber Strike 2015

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
KC-135 Stratotankers and about two dozen Airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard are in  Latvia, providing support to Saber Strike 2015, a 13-nation  exercise taking place there and in neighboring nations June  8-19. The Michigan Airmen are among 6,000 military personnel  participating in the U.S. Army Europe-led exercise. 

Saber Strike is a U.S Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise conducted annually  since 2010. The aim of the exercise is to improve the  cooperation and capabilities of the participating nations  for future contingency operations. This year's exercise  objectives facilitate cooperation among Canada, Denmark,  Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway,  Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the  United States.

The exercise, which is taking place in Latvia, Estonia,  Lithuania and Poland, also builds on the more than 20-year  relationship the Michigan National Guard has enjoyed with  Latvia in the State Partnership for Peace program. The  Michigan National Guard and Latvian forces routinely train  together and conduct various exchange programs for military  personnel.

During Saber Strike, the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard plays a  critical role by providing aerial refueling, aerial port  support capabilities, joint tactical air control, personnel  and equipment airlift, and close air support to U.S. and  partner nation ground forces while demonstrating air  deployment of forces and equipment.

"Saber Strike is a great opportunity to  showcase and foster our interoperability between ally and  partner nations," said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air  Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. "Combined training and theater security cooperation  engagements with our allies and partners demonstrate that we  share a commitment to promoting a Europe that is whole, free  and at peace."

U.S. Air Force capabilities in the exercise include KC-135  Stratotankers from the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National  Guard Base, Mich., the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and  the U.S. Air Force Reserves out of Seymour Johnson Air Force  Base, North Carolina; F-16 Fighting Falcons from the South  Carolina Air National Guard; A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the  Maryland Air National Guard; B-52 Stratofortresses from  Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and C-130J Super  Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Additional support  is provided by the 435th Contingency Response Group and the  435th Air-Ground Operations Wing from Ramstein Air Base,  Germany.

"Maintaining a forward, ready presence in Europe is critical to assuring  our allies and to deter real and potential  adversaries," said Gorenc. "We are only able to  maintain this global presence through total force  cooperation with our National Guard and Air Force Reserve  partners."