Maryland Air National Guard in Estonia

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Schepers
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
Eight A-10C Thunderbolt IIs and 111 Airmen from the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard deployed to Amari Air Base, Estonia over the first week in June 2015 to participate in Saber Strike 15, an exercise that facilitates cooperation between Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, United States and other participating nations.

Maintenance build-up and preparation for the long-standing training exercise, conducted annually since 2010, began more than four months ago. In 2013, the Maryland Air National Guard sent less aircraft and personnel to take part in the multinational exercise.

"This is the first time we have sent eight A-10s to participate in Saber Strike," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Morse, maintenance flight chief assigned to the 175th Maintenance Squadron. "The teamwork displayed was flawless and everyone came together to get the job done."

Creating a plan and executing was integral in getting the Airmen and the required equipment to Estonia. The wing sent personnel from operations, aircraft maintenance, security police, logistics and wing staff as well as 31 increments of equipment totaling over 120,000 pounds, said Morse.

"The deployed personnel is smaller than the amount of people they would typically bring to an exercise of this scale," said 1st Lt. Michael Gillis, 175th Maintenance Squadron officer-in-charge.

"The maintenance group is running at two-thirds capacity," said Gillis. "It takes a lot of adaptability because we don't have the same facilities, equipment and personnel to get everything ready for the mission."

The wing's goal is to fly twice a day, sending six A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft on training missions, said Gillis.

"Our goal is to never miss a sortie and never miss a mission," said Morse.

Saber Strike aims to continue to strengthen the U.S. Armed Forces interoperability with ally and partner nations, while increasing their capacity to conduct a full spectrum of military operations.