Official: US F-15 Eagles head for Europe

The news was ‘unofficial’ for a long time, but now the US Air National Guard has confirmed 12 Boeing F-15C Eagles are heading for Europe for various exercises and as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The Eagles from the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, form the second Theater Security Package (TSP) after the A-10’s that were sent to Spangdahlem, Germany, in February.

UPDATE 3 April | The Eagles arrived in the Netherlands on 31 March and 1 April. Several belong to the Oregon Air National Guard rather than the Florida Air National Guard. The US pilots started flying missions with Dutch F16s on 3 April.

The F-15Cs are first heading for Leeuwarden airbase, the Netherlands, for taking part in multinational flying exercise Frisian Flag.  They are expected to arrive early next week, with the first US Air Force transport C-17 Globemaster III already seen at the Dutch airbase. Afterwards, they will also show themselves at Graf Ignatievo airbase in Bulgaria. The planes will train with NATO allies during the deployment.

The 125th Fighter Wing is normally based at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida. Each US state has its own Air National Guard, and along with the US Air Force, these units form an integral part of US air power.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is the name the US gave to its increased military effort in Europe, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea over a year ago, plus the more recent fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

The US Army Black Hawks that arrived in Germany earlier in March, are also part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Florida Air National Guard F-15 Eagle joins the tanker. (Image © US Air Force)