In addition, some 300 members of the headquarters of the 18th Airborne Corps, also from Fort Bragg, had arrived in Germany to oversee the reinforcements pouring into Eastern Europe. The 18th Airborne Corps and base unit is led by Lieutenant General Michael E. Kurilla, who had been nominated by President Biden to take over the military’s Central Command in April. And last Thursday, Mr Austin said 125 troops in Germany would go to Bulgaria for training.
The Pentagon in recent days has also sent air reinforcements to Britain, Germany and Eastern Europe. The Air Force said F-35 fighters from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, were deployed to Germany days after B-52 bombers from Minot Air Force Base, ND, were sent to Britain on a previously planned mission.
Eight F-15s from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, have flown to Lask Air Base in Poland to add to the eight American F-15s there normally stationed in the UK.
“Deployment of US F-15s to Poland enhances NATO’s East flank collective defense capability and enhanced air policing missions,” General Jeffrey Harrigian, head of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa, said. said in a statement.
Eight F-16s, usually based in Spangdahlem, Germany, have also been deployed to Fetesti Air Base, Romania.
The buildup of air power in Eastern Europe carries risks. US and Russian warplanes operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea flew very close to each other in three separate incidents earlier this month, including one in which the planes were within about five feet of each other, Pentagon officials said.
In addition to deployments to Poland and Romania, the Pentagon has put another 8,500 troops in the United States on “high alert” for possible deployments to Eastern Europe. The troops will take part in a NATO response force that may soon be activated, military officials said.
Most of the higher-alert forces are active-duty ground forces, including combat brigades, and medical, aviation, transport, intelligence, and surveillance forces.
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