SIAULIAI, Lithuania — The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, recently deployed here in support of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission.
Starting Oct. 1, the 493rd EFS maintained a 24 hour, 7 day-a-week readiness posture, ready to launch two combat-armed F-15 Eagles. Thanks to the constant effort of skilled maintenance crews, highly trained pilots and dedicated support personnel, the 493rd EFS was able to get the F-15s airborne and ready to defend the Baltic States within less than 15 minutes from the scramble order notification.
The members of the 493rd EFS enjoyed their time in Siauliai and the surrounding areas when not on duty. Personnel attempted to have a positive impact on the community, interacting with the local population and taking part in homeland traditions.
The 493rd EFS participated in the "Christmas Angel" program, in which deployed Airmen donated their time and money to provide the children of a local children's home with much needed clothing, more than $500 of donations and many Christmas toys for kids who would not otherwise have had anything to open Christmas Day.
Although the 493rd EFS passed the Baltic Air Policing mission to the Royal Danish Air Force on Jan. 5, the change was bittersweet.
It was a tremendous honor and a noble responsibility to aid a nation in developing her defensive capabilities and sovereignty.
The 493rd EFS left their Lithuanian friends with a military salute and a friend's handshake, confident that the future will bring security and peace of mind to our NATO allies.