Strike Eagles Train With Estonians

The 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath in Britain dispatched several of its F-15E Strike Eagles to participate in Baltic Region Training Event IV Alpha where they worked with Estonian Forward Air Controllers, who will soon deploy to Afghanistan. Lt. Col. John Bunnell, 494th FS commander, said the BRTE exercises help ensure interoperability among NATO and partner nations. “There are many difficulties involved in complex military operations that never show themselves until you exercise in a live environment,” said Bunnell, who added that the training was valuable for both the FACs and aircrews. MSgt. Jay Lemely, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller at HQ US Air Forces in Europe, has been working with the Estonian FACs to provide standardization and ensure they can operate with various airpower assets and ground artillery because they will be “the key element tying all these pieces together.” (USAFE report by MSgt. Gino Mattorano)