Plovdiv: Joint exercise of U.S. and Bulgarian armed forces in full swing

Written by on March 22, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Plovdiv: Joint exercise of U.S. and Bulgarian armed forces in full swing

During the ongoing exercise “Thracian Spring 17” in the area of Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv, U.S. airmen from Ramstein Airbase in Germany and Bulgarian paratroopers are cooperating closely. According to the U.S. Air Force, this is about a team effort, in which trust plays a big role.

With their Bulgarian NATO allies, American airmen belonging to the 86th Airlift Wing, the 37th Airlift Squadron as well as the 435th Contingency Response Group intended to increase operational and tactical skills while improving their interoperability, during the exercise, which is scheduled to end tomorrow.

The Bulgarian commander in charge, Col. Yordan Yordanov said, he was always happy to work with the U.S. Air Force. It is something he has been doing for 10 years now. “We are looking forward to sharing techniques, tactics and procedures”, Yordanov told DVIDS, a publication run by the U.S. military. “I hope this exercise becomes more successful, not only for Bulgaria’s armed forces but also the U.S. Air Force.”

In “Thracian Spring 17″, some 60 U.S. airmen are running two Super Hercules C-130J aircraft. On the Bulgarian side, 100 paratroopers practice their jumps from an altitude of 1,250 feet. Both armed forces involved said, there was a lot of opportunity to share knowledge and build trust.

“There’s a lot of training that goes on for both sides of us”, Capt. Mary Bordelon, a flight commander belonging to the 37th Airlift Squadron, stated. “We brief and debrief together every day. An Alenia C-27J Spartan is also doing in-flight dissimilar formations with the Super Hercules C-130Js. This ensures our strong military alliance that we can train together and fight together.”

In May of 2006, shortly after Bulgaria became part of NATO, the Signed Defense Cooperation Agreement was struck between the two countries. The agreement gives the U.S. military access to enable combined training with the Bulgarian military. “Thracian Spring 17” is part of this effort.

Both armies recently started drills at the joint Novo Selo training facility in Bulgaria. Those activities are part of the operation “Atlantic Resolve”.

Photo by DVIDS/Nesha Humes

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Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com