Bulgaria, US Militaries finish 'Thracian Spring' Drills

Pan.bg 03 май 2011 | 23:22 views (3025) commentaries(0)
img The joint Bulgarian-US military training "Thracian Spring 2011" began Wednesday in the Plovdiv region, the Defense Ministry announced.
The 2011 "Thracian Spring," an annual Bulgarian-American military exercise, will last from April 27 till May 5, and will be concentrated around the Plovdiv Airport and the Krumovo Air Base.

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Airmen from Team Ramstein's 86th Airlift Wing and 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, as well as U.S. Army jumpmasters teamed with Bulgarian Armed Forces to conduct Exercise Thracian Spring '11 April 26 to May 5 here.
The bilateral training exercise brought U.S. and Bulgarian military forces together to build upon and strengthen the bonds currently shared between the two countries, while continuing to improve interoperability as Bulgaria continues to progress as a new partner nation in NATO.
"Sharing knowledge and activities will strengthen the U.S. and Bulgarian partnership for future operations," said Capt John Holland, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot and mission commander.
More than 90 Airmen and Soldiers including crew chiefs, jump masters, parachute riggers, loadmasters, aerial porters and pilots, loaded two C-130J Super Hercules for the two-week event.
While meeting their own training requirements, jump masters from the 435th Contingency Response Group and the Army's 5th Quartermaster Company also facilitated jumps for more than 400 Bulgarian paratroopers.
The training assisted with nine static line and HALO (high altitude, low opening) jumps, paratroopers from the 68th Bulgarian Special Forces Brigade were able to jump and train alongside U.S. paratroopers.
"Accomplishing nine successful static-lines and HALO sorties the first week couldn't have been a better opportunity for U.S. and Bulgarian paratroopers to train and integrate," said Maj. Michael Morales, 37th AS pilot.
More than four container delivery system drops, night vision goggle training, and aerial port procedures were included in the building partnerships capacity events.
"Thracian Spring was a great experience for my comrades and I, being able to share essential aircraft skilled procedures will have a lasting effect," said Bulgarian Air Force Capt. Anton Dimitrov.
Training in Bulgaria also offers various benefits to aircrews who normally have to operate under Germany's noise restrictions which prohibit certain flying routes and hours.
"Tactical low level flying in Europe is very difficult due to


the noise restriction." said Captain Holland. "Bulgaria assists in allowing us to use their air space for low altitude flying."
The training event also offered an opportunity to showcase the enhanced partnership to senior officials in the region. On May 2, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria James B. Warlick and Bulgarian Minister of Defense Anu Angelov witnessed static line personnel drops and high altitude free fall drops by the C-130Js and the C-27J and a Bulgarian helicopter demonstration of personnel recovery.

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