More than 250 airmen and a contingent of F-16s from Aviano AB, Italy, have just completed a two-week stint at Kallax AB, Sweden, where they trained with Swedish airmen and Gripen fighters. During the deployment, members of Aviano’s 555th Fighter Squadron and 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked side-by-side with their Swedish counterparts of the Norrbotten Wing in conducting more than 180 air-to-air and air-to-ground flying missions at the Vidsel Test Range, located about 50 miles from Kallax. In addition to the opportunity to train with friends, the exercise was important because it gave the USAF airmen “the opportunity to use a scored range, one of the best training areas I’ve ever seen, to conduct practice munitions drops and low-level flying,” said Maj. Travis Swan, 555th FS assistant director of operations. (Kallax report by TSgt. Lindsey Maurice)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.