A pair of A-10 Warthogs from the Air Force Reserve’s 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., recently touched down at Lielvarde AB, Latvia, marking the first time US fighters have landed at the former Soviet base, according to a Sept. 1 release. The Air Force has dispatched C-130s to Latvia, and F-16s have performed touch-and-go landings, but the A-10 visit marked a new first as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. “We are furthering the NATO capability if this base is ever needed as a forward operating base in the future,” said Lt. Col. Tim Brock, the bilateral affairs officer with US Embassy Riga. US airmen and Latvians will cooperate to train on safety procedures, refueling, emergency management, and other tasks, he added. The A-10s also collaborated with joint terminal attack controllers at the nearby Adazi Range, where JTACs with the Air National Guard’s 146th Air Support Operations Squadron and the Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., trained with Latvian infantry on close air support tactics.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.