2019 NATO Days strengthen alliances, partnerships
Story by SrA Alexandria Lee on 09/24/2019
The United States along with 18 NATO allied and partner nations participated in the NATO Days 2019, September 21-22, at Ostrava, Czech Republic. NATO Days is a Czech Republic-led air show and exhibition that showcased military ground and aviation capabilities. Participation in NATO Days increases U.S. partner capabilities, demonstrating integrated total force training with U.S. Reserves, Air National Guard units and partner nations’ militaries to improve interoperability in the European theater.
“We’re here to show our support for the (NATO) alliance. When you see the flags that are arranged, the first flag is the NATO flag,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Williams, Air Force Reserve Mobilization Assistance to the Commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA. “It is all about our partners. It’s important for us to show our support, all of our aircraft ready together representing the alliance. We stand together for the common good.”
The U.S. Air Force had multiple aircraft and Airmen from Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and active-duty units participating in NATO Days. Aircraft included one MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, Miroslawiec, Poland; one B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, La.; one KC-135 from the 155th Air Refueling Wing, Nebraska ANG; and one C-5M Super Galaxy from the 433th Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
“We came out to build comradery with our NATO partners, we’re getting a chance to meet and exchange information we might not have had prior to this NATO Day event”, said Capt. David Fink, 68th Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy pilot, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. “That is the biggest highlight for me the people; getting a chance to meet the locals and the military, we get to show the Air Force the capability of the C-5M as well as the people.”
NATO Days allows the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Marines an opportunity to highlight relationships and commitment to the security of Europe through total force participation.
Williams emphasized the importance of having all of the partnering nations support, “NATO Days highlight the partnership and throughout the nations. Leadership throughout all units and countries are here showing the importance of the alliance and their support. Every country has its own specific capabilities that it brings and at the same time we all work together to bring that interoperability to create an even stronger team.”