January 11, 2007 (by 1st Lt. Rose Richeson) - A new training mission arrived at Incirlik Air Base. In three waves, 16 F-16CJs from the 22nd FS taxied onto the Golf Loop where they will hang their wings over the next six to seven weeks.
Maintainers from the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron recover a F-16C aircraft after it landed at Incirlik AB on January 8th. The 22nd FS deployed there as part of a rotational squadron deployment. [USAF photo by A1C Kelly LeGuillion]
The jets, out of Spangdahlem, Germany, arrived in Turkey
on Jan. 8 and will be training at Incirlik to take advantage of the fair-weather flying conditions the local area provides year-round.
"Incirlik is uniquely suited to provide low cost training deployments supporting Spangdahlem's fighter mission," said Lt. Col. David Youtsey, 39th Operations Squadron commander, who also routinely flies as an instructor pilot with the 22nd FS
. "With Incirlik's existing infrastructure and agreeable weather we're the perfect location to host rotational squadrons that need to meet training requirements."
The training deployment to Incirlik is not a first. Similar deployments have been conducted in past years, in accordance with bilateral agreements between Turkey and the U.S., within the framework of the Turkish-American Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed Mar. 29, 1980.
"The deployment builds upon an already robust relationship with our 10th Tanker Command hosts," said Col. "Tip" Stinnette, 39th Air Base Wing commander, "and seeks to continue to build understanding between our Air Forces."
U.S. Air Forces in Europe units are already regular attendees to the Turkish Anatolian Eagle exercise at Konya, Turkey, and are very familiar with the Turkish flying environment Colonel Youtsey said.
The base has been preparing for the arrival for the past several months and a lot of behind-the-scenes work was done such as refurbishing and refurnishing base facilities to support the almost 250 personnel deployed here.
"I was stunned by the improvements made to the squadron operations center since the last time I visited Incirlik almost 10 years ago," said Lt. Col. Matt Chesnutt, 22nd FS commander. "It is obvious that the 39th OS and Team Incirlik have contributed many hours to making it a first-rate facility."
"The addition of the training mission is welcome and we look forward to hosting future training deployments with our Turkish mission partners," said Colonel Stinnette.