F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Spangdahlem airmen participate in Anatolian Eagle exercise in Turkey

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.

Published on November 19, 2006 in the European edition of Stars and Stripes.
Used with permission from Stars and Stripes, a DoD publication.
© 2006 Stars and Stripes.

Additional images:

USAF F-16C block 50 #90-0828 from the 22nd FS flies over central Turkey during Exercise Anatolian Eagle, conducted at Konya AB. The two-week exercise ended on November 17th and gave Turkish and American forces the opportunity to work side-by-side during the joint training. [USAF photo by MSgt. Ron Przysucha]

USAF F-16C block 50 #90-0828 from the 22nd FS performs combat air patrol over the glaciers of central Turkey during Exercise Anatolian Eagle. About a dozen F-16s and more than 200 Airmen traveled from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, to participate in the NATO exercise at Konya AB, Turkey. [USAF photo by MSgt. Ron Przysucha]