Bayou Eagles Deploy to Bulgaria

Louisiana Air National Guard F-15Cs flew to Graf Ignatievo AB, Bulgaria, earlier this month to take part in Exercise Thracian Eagle alongside US and Bulgarian aircraft, officials announced. “We are here to demonstrate our commitment and resolve to our NATO Allies,” said Lt. Col. Matt Rippen, commander of the Louisiana ANG’s 159th Operations Group, in a release. F-15Cs of the 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, which is comprised of Florida and Oregon ANG aircraft, deployed on a six-month theater security package earlier this month. Eagles from Florida’s 125th FW and Oregon’s 183rd FW took part in exercise Frisian Flag at Leewarden AB, the Netherlands, and were slated to join exercises at Graf Ignatievo as well. Approximately 150 pilots, maintainers, and support airmen of the 159th Fighter Wing deployed from NAS JRB New Orleans, La., to fly alongside Bulgarian air force Mig-29 fighters and Su-25 ground attack aircraft April 16 to May 5, according to the release.