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140 US ANG Airmen bring air power to Europe for Steadfast Javelin II

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A group of 140 U.S. Air National Guard Airmen from various units across the U.S. supported the one-week NATO-led exercise Steadfast Javelin II that is a part of the two-week long U.S. Army Europe-led Exercise Sabre Junction, which features participation from nine different nations with more than 2,000 personnel and takes place across Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The exercise prepares U.S., NATO Allies and European security partners by conducting unified land operations through the simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive, and stability operations, sustained interoperability, and synchronizing complex operations between allied air and ground forces through airborne and air assault missions.

Ten U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft from ANG airlift wings participated. Units included the 146th AW from California, the 166th AW from Delaware, the 123rd AW from Kentucky, 139th AW from Missouri, the 182nd AW from Illinois, and the 143rd AW from Rhode Island. These units provided a significant amount of air power to enable the joint forcible exercise.

Each wing sent two or three air crews and most brought additional maintenance personnel to support their flying operations. In one mission a nine-ship formation of C-130s executed an air drop of about 460 paratroopers.

"The ANG is playing a pivotal part in Steadfast Javelin II," said Brig. Gen. James C. Witham, ANG deputy director. "Reserve units provide nearly 60 percent of tactical air support throughout the globe and we need the ANG to conduct such large-scale exercises like this."

Active-duty and ANG aircraft are supporting Steadfast Javelin II by providing personnel air drop and air landings in support of forcible entry, force projection and reinforcing the joint commitment to Operation Atlantic Resolve, which demonstrates commitment to our NATO Allies and security in Eastern Europe.

"The ANG is able to bring unique capabilities to NATO-led exercises like this one," said Witham. "Not only are we able to provide the element of experience with our extremely capable and experienced aircrew, we're able to help strengthen relationships with many of the NATO countries by building on the enduring friendships we've been able to maintain through our State Partnership Program."

Steadfast Javelin II is an ideal training scenario, said Col. Robert Culcasi, 166th Operations Group commander for the Delaware ANG and "air boss" for all ANG assets participating in this exercise.

"Exercises like this help demonstrate our ability to work as a joint team and move [personnel] to project power anywhere in the area of operation, demonstrating mission capabilities," said Culcasi.

The 166th AW, Delaware ANG, is the lead ANG unit and sent 45 Airmen and two C-130H2 aircraft, and a C-130H aircrew from their 142nd Airlift Squadron transported U.S. and Royal Canadian Army paratroopers for an airfield seizure operation at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, as part of the exercise on Sept. 5.

The six sister ANG C-130 wings worked together to support our allies.

"Saber Junction is a great way to demonstrate the interoperability of NATO forces and a great opportunity to work and train with our NATO Allies" said Lt. Col. Kathryn Newell, aircraft commander for the Kentucky ANG. "It is a privilege to take part in such a crucial exercise."

Master Cpl. Chris Leedham, weapons detachment commander for Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, said he was pleased to be participating in an operation that builds such strong partnerships between allies.

"This experience of interoperability with such a capable international fighting force is professionally spectacular," he said.

Leedham made that comment just before he parachuted out of a Kentucky ANG C-130 aircraft as part of airfield-seizure training in the Baltics.

Leedham and the Royal Canadian Regiment were accompanied by U.S. Army Airborne paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy, and paratroopers from the Italian Army's 186th Parachute Regiment.

Saber Junction 14, which started Aug. 31 and concludes Sept. 11, is a U.S. Army Europe led, U.S. European Command directed, multinational, multiservice exercise that involves more than 5,800 personnel from 16 countries in several locations in Europe. Multinational partners participating in this exercise include the following NATO allies: Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and the United States; and the following NATO Partnership for Peace nations: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Sweden.

A portion of Saber Junction transitioned into a NATO military exercise called Steadfast Javelin II, Sept. 2-8. Steadfast Javelin II involves vehicles, aircraft, Airmen and Soldiers from nine different nations and takes place across five NATO countries including Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Steadfast Javelin II is designed to dynamically demonstrate NATO's commitment to its fundamental purpose to safeguard the freedom and security of its members and partners.

Editor's note: This story includes content from several Air Force articles; ANG brings air power to Europe for Steadfast Javelin II ( id=123423699), Aircrews deliver on time, target for Steadfast Javelin II (, 123rd Airlift Wing provides airlift in Europe for Operation Saber Junction (, and the U.S. Army Europe Sabre Junction web site (