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Castle Forge training: US Strike Eagles return to Romania and Bulgaria

U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles returned to Borcea Air Base in Romania and Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria for the second phase of forward dispersals supporting Operation Castle Forge, a multinational training event that demonstrates the agile combat employment.

“Castle Forge is designed to exercise the agility and rapid movement of air power to forward locations, increasing U.S. commitment to NATO allies in the Black Sea region while demonstrating the combined capability of the alliance to respond with a flexible and reassuring presence,” read a statement. Press release American air forces in Europe and air forces in Africa cited by Agerpres.

The Strike Eagles initially arrived at Larissa Air Base in Greece on October 6 to train alongside Hellenic Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons. From 18–22 October, they operated from Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria and Borcea Air Base in Romania for the first phase of Castle Forge forward dispersal. Then they returned to Greece. Training will continue in Romania and Bulgaria over the next few days.

“Castle Forge is one of the best opportunities we’ve had to test how we deliver airpower from locations with varying levels of capability and support,” said Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of the USAFE-AFAFRICA and NATO Allied Air Command. “As this operation continues, we are increasing the complexity, speed and flexibility of our movements – and we are doing this with our allies – because that is exactly how we will fight if called upon.”

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(Photo source: Usafe.af.mil; photo by Captain Andrew Layton)