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Oct 25 2021

Castle Forge completes first phase with NATO Allies

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Allied fighters from the US, Romania, Greece, and Bulgaria have been practicing air to air combat drills and response procedures together since US F-15s arrived in Europe in early October.

This first phase of operation Castle Forge included local training at Larissa Air Base, Greece from 11-17 October with colleagues from the Hellenic Air Force. Then subsets of the unit practiced rapid re-deployment to air bases in Bulgaria and Romania where they completed air operations with Black Sea Allies. US Air Force bases across Europe supported the redeployment with logistical efforts to practice and improve Alliance readiness, communication at range, and the capability to respond at short notice.

Castle Forge has been all about testing and providing critical concepts for our teams and their readiness

"Castle Forge has been all about testing and providing critical concepts for our teams and their readiness," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, NATO Allied Air Command Commander. "Leveraging the flexibility of our forces and the rapid convergence of allied assets provides a competitive edge that yields security and stability throughout the Black Sea region," he underlined.

Air bases under United States Air Forces Europe have coordinated efforts in support of this exercise as well. Ramstein Air Base's 435 Contingency Response Group is participating in Castle Forge. This scalable, cross-functional and rapidly deployable force assesses and opens air bases. The group also performs initial airfield operations, enabling rapid stand-ups. Additionally, Ramstein's 37 Airlift Squadron has been providing logistical support during the exercise. The airlift squadron supports Castle Forge's objective of demonstrating the joint force's combined ability to respond in times of crisis with a flexible, reassuring presence.

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U.S. Airmen from the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, prepare their F-15E Strike Eagles for a series of integrated training sorties during operation Castle Forge alongside F-16 aircraft from the Romanian Air Force's 53rd Fighter Squadron, Borcea 86th Air Base, Romania, Oct. 22, 2021.
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A Romanian F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft lands after a sortie alongside U.S. allies during week two of Castle Forge at Borcea Air Base, Romania Oct. 20, 2021. Castle Forge's central objective is to provide a partnership-focused environment and affirm U.S. commitment to NATO allies in the Black Sea region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica Blair)

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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