The 122nd Fighter Wing, which flies the A-10 “Warthog” airframe, has deployed eight A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and approximately 140 Airmen in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve for a month-long combined training event, overseas, to Sliač Air Base, Slovakia.
These Airmen will conduct training and familiarization events alongside our State Partner and NATO ally, Slovakia. In addition, they will also participate in cross-border training with other deployed U.S. Air Force aircraft and other NATO aircraft in the region. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, this deployment continues to demonstrate our commitment to our allies and our deterrence efforts against Russia.
The 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron will be flying with the Slovakian Air Force to demonstrate Close Air Support capabilities and conduct familiarization classroom events to further integrate our two air forces.
The classroom events include safety procedures, further Air Combat Maneuvers discussions and Air Surveillance techniques. The unit will also be participating in cross-border flights with deployed U.S. Air Force total-force partners flying F-16’s, KC-135’s, C-130’s and Allied Nation Air Forces.
This is the first deployment of the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Sliač Air Base, Slovakia. However, Indiana has held a robust State Partnership with Slovakia since 1993. The State Partnership Program (SPP) has been successfully building relationships for over 20 years that includes 70 unique security partnerships involving 76 nations around the globe. SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense – a state’s National Guard – with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
These rotation forces are the cornerstone for increasing our military combat capabilities, which are essential to fulfilling our European security obligations. These deployments reinforce the U.S. commitment to NATO during an unpredictable and uncertain time. We are able to maintain a global presence thanks to the efforts of our active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve partners. Air Guardsmen provide critical support throughout the USAFE-AFAFRICA AOR’s by deploying and interacting with a variety of nations.
Airmen deploying have been through extensive preparation, ranging from cultural awareness to weapons qualification to medical training. These airmen will be carrying out the same job overseas that they have been training monthly for at the 122nd Fighter Wing as full-time members or drill status guardsmen.
In addition to the number of unit members deployed to Slovakia, by the end of July 2016 the 122nd Fighter Wing will have in excess of an additional 150 members deployed throughout the world in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in various Agile Combat Support packages. The 122nd Fighter Wing has had service members volunteer for deployments around the world since 9-11, to locations including Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Japan and within the United States among other locations.