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U.S. F-35s soared over Baltic nations

  • Published
  • By HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

Two U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing and one KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing currently operating out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, conducted low approach flyovers over the Baltic Sea region today, June 16.

The purpose of each flyover was to demonstrate U.S. commitment and assurance to NATO Baltic Allies and partners. Additionally, this provided citizens an opportunity to take photos, videos, and simply enjoy the aircraft flying overhead.

 "These fly-passes demonstrate U.S. dedication to our Baltic Allies," emphasized Maj. Gen. Derek France, director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration, USAFE-AFAFRICA. "These flights along Europe's Eastern Flank are a testament to the commitment of USAFE and our Air National Guard Airmen to Ally assurance and maintaining strong relationships in theater."

The aircraft’s first stop as Tallinn, Estonia where crowds gathered to watch the fly past along the Pirita Tee. The flyover in Estonia was for a U.S. Embassy celebration, commemorating a century of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“This summer marks 100 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.” said U.S. Embassy Tallinn Chargé d’Affaires Brian Roraff. “These low-approach fly-passes commemorate and honor these enduring relations with our NATO Baltic Allies.” 

Their next stop was Riga, Latvia where the planes sored over the historic Riga Castle and Ķīpsalas pludmale.

“The presence of U.S. aircraft over Latvia reassure our ally of the U.S. commitment to securing NATO and Latvian airspace.” said U.S. Ambassador to Latvia John Carwile. “We would like to thank the U.S. Air Force for this exciting opportunity to observe these spectacular aircraft over cherished landmarks in Latvia.”

Their final overflight was enjoyed over Vilnius, Lithuania where the best spots to appreciate the aircraft were Three Crosses Monument or Cathedral Square.

“The fly-passes of U.S. F-35s and KC-135s are a clear demonstration of dedication to our Baltic Allies,” said U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Robert S. Gilchrist. “Our regional Allies and partners are reassured of U.S. security commitments in the region when they witness a tangible and demonstrative activity, such as this.”  

Crowds gathered at each location to observe the U.S. aircraft overhead.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the U.S. have shared diplomatic relations for a century. Through strong and resilient partnerships the U.S. Air Force will continue to provide for the security of our Baltic Allies.  

An F-35 fact sheet can be found at: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/478441/f-35a-lightning-ii/

 A KC-135 Stratotanker can be found at: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/1529736/kc-135-stratotanker/

For more information, contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at +49 06371-47-6558 or email usafepao.pao@us.af.mil or usafepa.pastaffdutyofficer@us.af.mil.