US Soldiers refuel Hornet jet at Leilvarde
"Landing one of every variant of aircraft they plan to land is part of the NATO Alliance," said Capt. Ryan Campbell, company commander of Echo Company, 3-10 GSAB. "From what I understand, this is the last aircraft they needed to certify. We've already certified this airfield for all our American aircraft, specifically from the 10th CAB."
U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob Dwight Weston-Girardin, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, signals his team member to release fuel into the lines on the airfield, May 18.  Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet.  The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)
3 photos: US Soldiers refuel Hornet jet at Leilvarde
Photo 1 of 3: U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob Dwight Weston-Girardin, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, signals his team member to release fuel into the lines on the airfield, May 18. Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet. The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Wohlfore, Air National Guardsman with the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Michigan, provides a quick emergency egress class on the F/A-18 Hornet jet to Latvian firefighters while the jet is being refueled on the airfield, May 18.  Wohlfore has routinely made trips to Leilvarde since 2008 to provide training to members of the Latvian air force to enhance their capabilities.  Latvia is Michigan's State Partnership Program partner, a program designed to promote interoperability and stability in Baltic nations since 1993.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)
3 photos: US Soldiers refuel Hornet jet at Leilvarde
Photo 2 of 3: U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Wohlfore, Air National Guardsman with the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Michigan, provides a quick emergency egress class on the F/A-18 Hornet jet to Latvian firefighters while the jet is being refueled on the airfield, May 18. Wohlfore has routinely made trips to Leilvarde since 2008 to provide training to members of the Latvian air force to enhance their capabilities. Latvia is Michigan's State Partnership Program partner, a program designed to promote interoperability and stability in Baltic nations since 1993. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Army Soldier Joseph Nippert, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, operates the fuel switch of the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M978A4 fuel servicing truck.  Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet.  The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)
3 photos: US Soldiers refuel Hornet jet at Leilvarde
Photo 3 of 3: U.S. Army Soldier Joseph Nippert, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, operates the fuel switch of the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M978A4 fuel servicing truck. Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet. The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob Dwight Weston-Girardin, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, signals his team member to release fuel into the lines on the airfield, May 18.  Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet.  The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Wohlfore, Air National Guardsman with the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Michigan, provides a quick emergency egress class on the F/A-18 Hornet jet to Latvian firefighters while the jet is being refueled on the airfield, May 18.  Wohlfore has routinely made trips to Leilvarde since 2008 to provide training to members of the Latvian air force to enhance their capabilities.  Latvia is Michigan's State Partnership Program partner, a program designed to promote interoperability and stability in Baltic nations since 1993.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)
U.S. Army Soldier Joseph Nippert, petroleum supply specialist for Echo Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, operates the fuel switch of the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck M978A4 fuel servicing truck.  Echo Company is participating in a Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission, where Soldiers will refuel a jet to a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet jet.  The unit is deployed to Latvia for Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shiloh Capers)

U.S. Soldiers from Echo company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, refueled a Finnish F/A-18 Hornet at the airfield on Leilvarde, May 18.

The Forward-Arming and Refueling Points mission was part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. endeavor to fulfill commitment to NATO interests by rotating units throughout Europe.

The Finnish F/A-18 Hornet was completing tests at Leilvarde after service was completed on the emergency brake system, which is similar to the brake system used by aircraft carriers, by Latvian soldiers. 

Latvian medics were also standing by for any unexpected emergencies.

Since 2008, U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Wohlfore with the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Air National Guard, Michigan, has routinely deployed to Latvia for training purposes. He deploys as part of the State Partnership Program, a federal program executed by the states. Latvia has been paired with Michigan since the beginning of the program in 1993.

The program is managed by the National Guard Bureau, guided by the U.S. Department of State foreign policy goals, and executed by the state adjutants general in support of combatant commander and U.S. Chief of Mission security cooperation objectives and Department of Defense policy goals.

Senior Master Sgt. Wohlfore was at the event to perform a quick emergency egress class on the F/A-18 Hornet for the Leilvarde Air Base fire department. 

If the pilot were incapacitated in some way or there was an inflight emergency, the fire department will be the personnel to arrive on scene and remove the pilot. The firefighters will also know how to shut down the aircraft, said Wohlfore.

"Firefighters have to be able to know how to do that, and they've never seen an F/A-18," he said. "So I have to walk them through that kind of stuff."

Testing the emergency brake system was only part of the reason why the F/A-18 Hornet was at the air base. Members of the Finnish air force flew down to the air base to conduct a NATO certification at Leilvarde. It was the first time the Finnish air force landed an aircraft on the airfield.

"Landing one of every variant of aircraft they plan to land is part of the NATO Alliance," said Capt. Ryan Campbell, company commander of Echo Company, 3-10 GSAB. "From what I understand, this is the last aircraft they needed to certify. We've already certified this airfield for all our American aircraft, specifically from the 10th CAB."

The 3-10 GSAB is providing Leilvarde full support to help accredit Leilvarde as a fully functional air base. Logistics support, distribution of supplies, maintenance and repair, command and control in the tower, the U.S. Army and Air Force are working together to ensure Leilvarde is a capable air base within safety standards.

"We're also establishing a fuel testing lab here; they just got NATO certified on that," Campbell said. "We're going to have the Defense Logistics Agency come up here in the next month or so and certify their fuel so that we can do all our refueling operations directly from this installation."

The crew at Leilvarde have come a long way, from having zero training and limited capabilities to the progress they show today, said Wohlfore.

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U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51st country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnership and enhance global security.

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