November 19, 2006 (by Scott Schonauer) - About 200 airmen from Spangdahlem Air Base have wrapped up an exercise in Turkey that involved practicing with Turkish fighter pilots and NATO Airborne Warning and Control System planes and refueling tankers.
Col. Darryl Roberson pulls into tight formation with another F-16 over the Turkish mountains after completing the final mission of Exercise Anatolian Eagle, conducted at Konya AB. Colonel Roberson is commander of the 52nd FW at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. [USAF photo by MSgt. Ron Przysucha]
A dozen F-16 fighters from the Spangdahlem-based 22nd Fighter Squadron were involved in the exercise, according to Iris Reiff, a spokeswoman for the 52nd Fighter Wing, the host unit at the base.
The 12-day drill, called Anatolian Eagle, involved daily missions with as many as 50 aircraft flying from Konya Air Base - a range that has been used by the Turkish military along with NATO
and the United States.
It gave pilots a chance to hone combat skills. Turkish pilots flying MiG-29 Fulcrums and Su-27 Flankers helped play the role of enemy aircraft during some of the training missions, according to an Air Force press release.
Pilots flew air-to-ground strike missions and practiced fighting against enemy air defense systems. The exercise began Nov. 6 and ended Friday.
This is the first time the 22nd has participated in Anatolian Eagle since 2004, according to the release. However, Lt. Col. Doug Nikolai, 22nd director of operations, said in the release that the unit plans to return to Turkey
for a similar exercise in the summer of 2007.