USAF special tactics operators and logistics readiness airmen fuel an F-35A at a forward-arming and -refueling point mission with US Air Forces in Europe aircraft during Operation Rapid Forge at Amari AB, Estonia, on July 25, 2019. Air Force photo by SSgt. Rose Gudex.
Several USAF units on July 25 wrapped up Operation Rapid Forge, a large-scale exercise across Eastern Europe that included several firsts for the F-35.
The US and NATO exercise included F-35As deployed from Hill AFB, Utah, along with F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., an MC-130J from RAF Mildenhall, England; C-130Js from Ramstein AB, Germany, and Dyess AFB, Texas; and KC-135s from Mildenhall, according to a US Air Forces in Europe release.
Throughout the exercise, aircraft practiced missions such as refueling fighters from the MC-130J, rapid refueling and rearming, and tasks outside of airmens’ regular jobs—security forces helping with refueling, weapons loaders driving trucks, maintainers providing security, and more.
Rapid Forge marked the first time F-35s landed in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, according to USAFE.